The heartful presenter – part 5

The heartful presenter - part 5

In the last 4 articles, RAVI VENKATESAN has talked about the reasons public speakers fail, the 27Cs of good communication, body language and voice modulation, and the ‘power of pause’. In  part 5 he shifts from the science to the art of Heartful presenting, with a focus on ‘Presence’.


We are evaluated and judged, even as we walk onto a stage. This happens subconsciously, before we have uttered a single word. There are simple external factors like the clothes we wear, and more subliminal factors like our thoughts and feelings as we walk in, which combine to establish our Presence.

To understand the importance of Presence and how to purposefully establish it, try the following simple exercises:

With a group of friends or co-workers, have one person walk in as if they are about to present on a topic. Before they say anything, ask the group to comment on the person by saying, “I felt that she brought a _______ presence to the room,” and filling in the blank. You will be surprised at the types of comments you receive. This will bring to light how subconscious evaluation happens.

Ask the same person to now think about what presence they would like to bring, for example, confident, casual, somber, authoritative, serious, joyful, etc. Have them walk in again, without sharing with the group what presence they wanted to bring. Now ask the group to comment again as before. This exercise will bring to light how much the presence of a person can shift simply based on intent.

There are 5 Cs that need to be mastered to establish presence in public speaking:


It is very important to establish upfront who you are, why are you qualified to speak about your topic, and why your audience should listen to you. For example, if you are speaking about the importance of balancing exercise, nutrition and meditation for overall wellness, it would help to start with a statement like, “I have been an avid Yoga practitioner and meditation instructor for over 20 years. I have also been a nutrition consultant for the last 2 years. I am passionate about helping people create balance in their lives through better nutrition, exercise and meditation.”


Confidence arising out of preparation and self-belief is essential to elicit attention. The best way to develop confidence is to speak to a large group in the same way you would have a conversation. Simply make eye contact with one person at a time, and say whatever you have to say, as if you are having a conversation. Self-belief comes from knowing that you are the expert in whatever message you are here to deliver, irrespective of whether or not you are the expert in a particular field.


Use approaches that are in vogue with the times and the environment. For example, if you are doing a TED talk, don’t stand behind a podium. Use visual aids appropriately to highlight key points. Ask questions so that you use an ‘inquiry-based learning’ style.


Let your natural personality shine through. This is the simplest way to develop charisma. Most of us believe that charisma is something natural, and you either have it or you don’t. The reality is that most charismatic people have worked on it. Charisma is there in all of us, but inhibitions and the fear of being judged block it. To overcome this, practice speaking and having conversations with a firm belief that you are not being judged. Deliberately go to the edge of what you are comfortable saying.


Be spontaneous. Don’t be afraid to go off script. Courage naturally attracts people. This is because it inspires confidence and builds interest. When you get on stage and speak, you are also leading your audience. They need to feel that you are not just there to read a script, but to share something from your heart.


Ravi Venkatesan

About Ravi Venkatesan

Ravi lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and currently works as Chief Technology Officer in a software solutions company. He is also a regular public speaker and public speaking coach. He has been a Heartfulness meditator for over 20 years and is passionate about applying meditation lessons to improve workplace relationships and productivity.

Recommended Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.