Today, we’re going to be talking about How To Present With Confidence. This is the key to being a great yoga teacher, health care provider and coach. 

Okay, let’s get into How To Present With Confidence. This is for you if you are considering leading a keynote event, you have a presentation coming up, you’re a yoga teacher and you just want to gain more confidence when you step in front of your students, in front of a group of people, maybe you want to start leading yoga workshops or retreats with bigger groups of people, if you are a wellness coach or a health coach and you want to start leading your own workshops and webinars, if you are a physical therapist or a healthcare provider and you want to start having in-person events in your clinics and workshops for your current patients and potential patients, this blog is for you.

At the end of 2023, I was awarded Presenter Of the Year for a keynote presentation  I did at a co-working space here in San Diego called Hera Hub. And I presented how to create and fill workshops at one of their events. There were other presenters, and in fact they have a few events during the year where there are many opportunities for presenters to take this stage and give valuable information. And there were a good number of attendees to the event that I spoke at. It is one of the larger events that I was led a keynote presentation, too. So when I received this award, I was actually quite floored because during that very presentation, I had a lot of imposter syndrome type thoughts like, “Is this really valuable? Are they going to like it? Are they getting any key takeaway aways here? Who am I to be teaching this?” Which is kind of funny because it is very meta since I was leading this workshop to create and fill workshops. I did see the ironic relevance to that, but that’s where my brain went.

How To Manage Your Brain During A Presentation

So today’s episode is twofold. I will tell you how I managed my brain in the moment to deliver an impactful presentation, one so much that I did receive an award on, as well as tell you how I actually got to the point where I can leave keynote presentations because you might be thinking, “Well, of course she would win an award, look at all the webinars, the workshops, the events she teaches each month. She’s always doing Facebook lives, always teaching some type of class. So presenting comes easy for her.” This is not the truth.

In fact, in high school, I was actually one of those wallflowers, I think it’s called, the person who’s there against the wall, rarely ever speaking, hiding in the shadows. That was me. I am very introverted. I was introverted back then and I still am today. Back then, I was also very shy, which are actually two different things. You can listen to a past podcast episode (link here) where I go more into this, the difference between being an introvert and shyness. But the shyness back then was stemming from my lack of self-esteem and confidence.

It was also a way to keep my nervous system regulated because whenever I spoke, it was very stressful. It was a nervous system trigger. So just constitutionally, I was on the quieter, reflective side, and I liked being alone. That was just my introverted nature. So that led to high school fairly being seen and heart, and I liked it that way.

If you want to understand your nervous system and triggers be sure to read this blog here: https://igniteurwellness.com/overcoming-fear-and-anxiety-as-an-entrepreneur/

However, if you want to grow a business, that type of mindset won’t serve you well. So I needed to get over it, especially when I was offered the position to fill my mentor’s class, meaning she moved away and the yoga studio offered me her very full and typically sold out yoga class. I had to work myself there and I’ll tell you how. But one of the key takeaways from this blog is to show you that you don’t have to be perfect to lead successful presentation. You don’t have to be an extrovert. In fact, you can overcome shyness. Your introvertedness can be a great strength. You can build and improve on your self-esteem and confidence and go on to do big things. If I can do it and win this award, so can you.

How You Can Gain Confidence

So let’s talk about how you can gain confidence. So let’s go back to the beginning of when I first started my wellness entrepreneur journey over 20 years ago. I was a personal trainer, and if you remember, I talked about a few episodes back (link here) about how I gravitated towards massage versus personal training. Because massage, I could deliver great results for people, help them to calm their nervous system, feel better in their bodies, release tension, all the things in a dark cave where no one else would see me. And it was quiet versus personal training was often out in a large gym where people were watching, large machines were clanging around. There was usually some type of loud music in the background. So massage just felt like a natural element for me. So I went from that to now teaching all the time. But I first started small. So when I first got the courage to go and get my yoga teacher training, I didn’t think I would actually teach in front of a group of people. I just had no desire to do that.

However, I quickly realized, especially when I started getting offered gigs that I would need to learn how to do this. So I started small, even during my certification, I would start teaching two small groups of people who I trusted, just two to three people really often. My sister, my husband, a couple friends here or there. And I get feedback from them.

The very first official class I ever taught was ripping the band-aid off. It was through the PNA Yoga Studio in La Jolla, California, who I got certified with as part of the certifying credentials. You had to teach so many public classes and they had the option for you to teach their donation community based class. In fact, they encouraged it. That’s pretty much what it was for, was for their yoga teachers to get experience.

So I signed up for that and I figured maybe a handful of people would show up, four to five, one of them being my husband. And wouldn’t you know it, I had a full room. It was 20 plus people. And so that was ripping the band-aid up. It was the ability for me to go out there and mess up and know I will be okay. And I was okay. And after that, I just continued teaching handful of very small classes again and again and again whenever I could set them up. And then quickly after I was offered the position to teach my mentor’s class. Now she’d been teaching for close to a decade, and her class is typically sold out 20 plus people. And it was a rare opportunity for a beginner teacher to take on this type of class. So I was honored to even be considered.

And so of course I said yes, even though my brain was offering me all kinds of other things like, Who are you? You’ll never teach as good as her. They only love her.” All the things. And I’m not saying that I felt comfortable to just step right up and do it, but I did. And here’s the thing. When I first taught those first couple classes when my mentor moved away, there were a bunch of people who didn’t come back to my class when I started teaching. And this happened at yoga, six to over a decade ago when I took on a very popular teacher’s class that typically sold out consistently, there were handfuls of people that didn’t come back initially when I took over the class. So in both of these instances, the class size did shrink initially, and that’s a blow to the ego and a blow to someone’s confidence that wasn’t necessarily quite healthy at the time.

Practice, Practice, And Practice

But here’s the thing, I just stuck with it. I continued practice teaching in front of my family. I practiced my own sequences, so I would take the time to ride out and think of my own sequences. In fact, that became a bit of an art. I love to do it, but I would practice them and I would practice queuing while I was practicing them. I would practice queuing just saying statements and one-liners. And this is a huge one for you because precise, clean, and tight queuing is so helpful. For example, there’s a difference with: “Lift your arms,” “Raise your arms overhead,” or “Lift your arms for me, come on now, let’s lift our arms” or, “Okay, now we’re going to place our feet hip width first,” versus “Place your feet hip width.” So I had to practice all that. I did presentations in front of six lead yoga instructors and managers, and they would give me feedback of when I was saying fillers. I really had no idea, and I’m very grateful for that. In fact, I should do a blog on queuing tips just like that. So stay tuned in the future, but I practiced it all and noticed what I was saying.

And when I journaled on my fears, I even thought about worst case scenarios: What if I mess up? What if I forget my sequence? What if they don’t like it? What if someone walks out of class? How will I handle it?” I went there. I went to all the places, and I thought to myself, how would I want to react in that type of situation? So I was mentally prepared if it ever did happen, and that gave me some comfort that made me feel a little bit safe. And eventually, those people who had left the class, because I took it over, they started trickling back. Not everyone, because you can’t be the yoga teacher for everyone. And some of those people were just really gravitated towards that older teacher. And I was different because I was me, so not everyone, but I would say more people than not gravitated back towards my class.

And I acquired my own tribe, my own students who started following me. So my room started filling up consistently and I started teaching workshops, and that was a whole other ballgame. That was another leveling up because now I had to add in the marketing component and people were paying to come to see me and my information, especially for special reason. And they were paying and dedicating two to three hours on a weekend to come listen to hear what I had to say. I wanted to make sure it was valuable.

 Want ideas for Sequencing your yoga classes? Read this blog here: https://igniteurwellness.com/how-to-plan-a-yoga-class/

Double Down On Your Own Belief And Confidence Of The Value You are Presenting

And then I started leading yoga teacher trainings even more. People were paying thousands of dollars. So I really had to double down on the belief and the confidence of the value I was teaching by teaching and teaching and teaching. Year after year, I finally found my flow. And again, I wasn’t perfect. I didn’t always feel comfortable. Most of the time, even to this day, I still get a lot of nerves, but I do have techniques in the moment to work through those, and I’ll get to them in just a moment. But you need to keep going, keep practicing. Don’t get sucked into the thoughts that your brain wants to offer you, like imposter syndrome that you don’t know enough or they don’t want to hear what you have to say or all those things. Those on the nightstand journal through them. Double down on your own belief in yourself, your value and what you have to offer in the world.

That’s especially why I teach my clients in the Awaken Business Coaching Program, the belief plan. So they know how to shift belief. It sometimes just takes a few moments before they go to post on social media, before they lead their own presentation or webinar. It’s so important.

Techniques You Can Use When You’re About To Present

So for now, let’s get to some techniques that you can use in the moment when you’re about to teach or present. So before I present or teach, I realize that there is a potential that my brain might lie to me in the middle of presenting and teaching and offer me unhelpful advice such as, “Who are you to be teaching this? They’re not getting any value. This sucks, da, da, da, da, da.” So right before I teach or present, I shift into belief and I pull out messages, texts, any feedback I’ve gotten after a previous class workshop or class. In fact, I have a folder of them in my phone.

Or I remember to times where I know I’ve had success in an event or a class that I taught and people got a lot of great value from it. So don’t worry if you don’t have this evidence yet, if you’re newer to teaching or newer to presenting keynote speaking events to larger groups of people, you can borrow my evidence that your brain will lie, especially if your nervous system is triggered. It’s just looking out for your own good, right? Trying to keep you safe in that corner. Get in a way out of sight.

So for me, if I review those and shift into belief right before I teach or present, then usually I can recall one or two in the moment when my brain likes to offer me unhelpful suggestions and I can redirect, “Nope, nope, this is valuable. People are loving it.”

And I also rely on my breath during a presentation. I slow down because we just naturally have a tendency to speed up when we get stressed or triggered or nervous. We just talk really, really fast. So it is helpful to slow down, and I take long exhales. And fortunately, being a yoga teacher and teaching to wellness entrepreneurs, I have a lot of great opportunities to have the audience close their eyes and visualize. So sometimes I do that and I have them breathe with me too. So we all are downregulating and calming our nervous system at the same time. And that space just gives me time to catch up to my thoughts, gives me times to ground back into the present moment and regain my confidence to go forward again.

And I’ve taught events and presentations where I’ve completely lost my train of thought, like no idea what the next sentence is. And sometimes, again, I just have to laugh or breathe through it because we’re a human being and start talking again. And usually once I start talking, I pick it up wherever I left up, it just comes back to me eventually.

So you just have to keep going and not worry about being perfect. So it’s really simple. And that’s great because in the moment when you’re presenting and teaching, it seems like for me anyways, things go really fast. So I like to keep it simple, clear and direct.

Let’s do a recap. Number one, shift into belief beforehand. Use past evidence of messages text great presentations or classes that you’ve taught in the past. Use that as evidence to shift into the belief in the present moment that you have the possibility to teach a great class, a great presentation again. And if you don’t get out there and start teaching, build that evidence. And in the meantime, borrow the evidence from me that your brain might lie to you in the middle of teaching and presenting, and that’s normal. That’s okay if those thoughts that you know are unhelpful and they cause you to shrink and lose your confidence and steam right there in the moment, redirect. Just redirect and keep bringing yourself back to the present moment, focusing on the people in front of you. In fact, just focus on one person. Think of one person. Pick a face even if you don’t know them and think, “I’m going to help you today. My message is for you. You are going to leave the room with insights and value to make your day easier. I promise.” If you just focus on that one person and you’re teaching to a group of people, more than likely you will help the rest of the room as well.

Number 2, use your breath. Slow yourself down. Take long exhales. The room will appreciate it too, because it’ll give them an opportunity to integrate your information, to reflect upon it and think about implementing it into their own lives. In fact, you can lead them through breath work as well, or a visualization which gives them the opportunity to process and integrate your information as well. They will love that. These are all techniques that I did right there in the moment during that keynote presentation that I did where I received the award presenter of the year.

Read about 5 of the biggest stressors for Wellness Entrepreneurs here: https://igniteurwellness.com/entrepreneur-stress-reduction/


So there you have it. Get out there, practice, practice, practice. Keep doing it, and I promise you’ll get better. And you can actually be like me, go from the wallflower in the room who barely ever spoke, introverted and shy, to now getting presenter of the year for a keynote presentation. I can do it so you certainly can as well.

If you implement any of this information and it served you well, I helped you to get out there and teach a class or lead a presentation, come back here and leave a review. I would love to hear, and I’ll give you a shout out on the podcast.

All right, I’ll see you next week. Bye for now!

Reminders: Two Events Coming Up In 2023

Before we get into this information, I want to remind you about two events coming up in 2023. You can start to get registered for them now. 

The first is a free event with me called Fall in Love with Marketing. And this is for you if you know you need to market, but it’s not exactly your favorite activity and you’re doing it, but you’re not sure if you are as effective as you could be, and you’re looking for ideas on how to get consistent clients, how to feel confident in your marketing plan and skills. This is the workshop for you. We’re going to go over both mindset needed when you market and some strategies for both social media and not on social media if social media is not your thing. https://igniteurwellness.com/fall-in-love-with-marketing/

The other event coming up is the Blueprint For Low Back Health Utilizing the Yoga Koshas and the Chakra Layers. This is a continuing education event or training for certified wellness practitioners, yoga teachers and healthcare providers. Right now, it is going to be in-person at the Center for Integrative Health Sciences here in lovely Encinitas, California. It’s going to be held on Friday, February, 24, 12 to 4 P.M. in-person. How cool is this? I haven’t taught a yoga training in-person the past few couple years now so I’m very, very excited to be teaching this. And if you are not local and you don’t want to travel for one day, I get it, so let me know. Because, if I do have enough requests or Center of Health Sciences has enough requests, we will consider adding a hybrid option so you can attend online from anywhere in the world and or in person.

So we do need enough requests to bring in the online portion because we do want to bring in videographers and make sure the quality of the video feed is good. So there are some extra steps, but if we do get enough requests, we will consider it. So there you have it. Practitioner skills and business skills to start your new year.



Alison McLean

"I help the Entrepreneur reduce stress and live a more fulfilled and balanced life."