This is part 2 of a series of articles. Click here to read part one.
Energy and enthusiasm are required to hold any audiences’ attention through a presentation. Your passion and enthusiasm for the subject matter is transmitted through your energy which is visible to your audience through your tone of voice, posture and body language.
The maintenance of a consistently high energy level may be impeded if you feel anxious or nervous before giving a presentation. One shift which takes place when the stress response is triggered is that you tend to naturally favour using one hemisphere of your brain.
When operating from this place of brain dominance you are shutting off one component of your nervous system and the opportunity for a range of thinking. Being able to access both intellectual and emotional aspects of thinking allows you to think and respond in a more integrated way. This is especially useful when presenting as it allows flexibility when responding to the needs of the audience and will give you a feeling of being in a state of flow or high energy.
There are many different ways to engage and activate the whole brain, the simplest of which is walking with a rhythmic contralateral gait (opposite arm and leg) simultaneously. So a brisk walk around the block will assist in harmonising left and right brain hemispheres and has the added benefit of reducing the levels of cortisol and adrenaline in your system if you are a little anxious.
For an on the spot approach you could use the Cross Crawl Patterning technique. The cross crawl activity closely imitates the walking gait and it amplifies muscle rotation in a way which even walking doesn’t do. This helps to release the muscles which get tight when we become stressed.
TIP: Use cross crawl to integrate brain hemispheres
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and touch your right elbow to your left knee and then the left elbow to the right knee. Repeat the exercise for a minute or two. When the hemispheres are synchronised your neurological functioning is enhanced, allowing you to experience improved concentration, coordination and energy.
Why does this work?
Your right hand is controlled by the left hemisphere of your brain and your left hand is controlled by the right hemisphere of your brain. The action of bringing the hand across the midline of the body means that hand is simultaneously picked up by the opposite hemisphere. So when you cross your arms or legs over the midline in this way you are causing the right and left hemispheres to work in harmony.
For further information on managing stress whilst presenting contact Hazel Miller, at
Author: Hazel Miller