Daniel Kingsley, founder of Presence Training, talks to Less-Stress London about inner tennis, outer performance, and how to move between the two through awareness to choice.
Less-Stress London: You teach authentic public speaking. Can you tell us more about your approach?
Daniel Kingsley: At Presence Training, we don’t just teach public speaking. Being human is all about being in relationships, with others and with oneself. When you consider public speaking as an act of relationship, it can improve beyond recognition. Fundamentally, we teach emotional harmony, and this starts with developing a relaxed relationship with oneself.
L-SL: How is this exactly taught in your courses and workshops?
DK: We help clients understand their “inner game”, and by that I mean the forces inside us that keep us blocked or work in our favour. You can work on your technique all you like, but unless you understand your inner game you will not master public speaking. It’s about getting in harmony with our thoughts and emotions, recognising the strategies we’re currently running. When we achieve a more harmonious inner world, we radiate powerful confidence on the outside.
L-SL: Can you give us an example of a technique you use in your training?
DK: One of the major principles we teach is something we call AAC, which stands for Awareness, Acceptance and Choice. Most people want to move from awareness to choice quickly, but you cannot do that without very deeply accepting what is. You cannot change what you are fighting with.
L-SL: How did you arrive at this approach?
DK: It emerged initially from dealing with the specific challenges of working as a barrister. I was fighting every day and expected to win all the time. The internal cost was too great. I had to look for a different approach. I started practising yoga and exploring some spiritual teachings on how to live more skillfully and whole-heartedly. This changed everything.
L-SL: How did your own public speaking experience as barrister contribute to developing Presence Training?
DK: Working as a barrister, I was a very confident public speaker. On a good day, I was a terrifically good public speaker. On a not-so-good day, I was good enough to others, but it was painful to be me. I didn’t know why and how the good days happened and the internal cost of delivering on bad days was just far too significant. A lot of high-level speakers will relate to this. Their performance might be terrific on the outside, but it is not really that great for them, and the cost of delivering it becomes too great.
L-SL: How does it feel to speak authentically?
DK: At Presence Training we say, “Stop performing, start connecting”. Public speaking changes from something you do to an audience, to something you do with an audience. This takes a lot of pressure of you, making public speaking into a delightful act of co-creation.
Daniel’s top tips:
- Embrace your nerves. Don’t fight them. Nerves are completely natural.
- Connection with you audience is far more important than the content of what you want to tell them. Simple: if you connect, they will accept what you have to say. If there is no connection, they are not going to receive you.
- Don’t try to get it right to make your audience like you. Give what you have to offer as a gift. They might or might not like it, but it will be received.
Find out more about Presence Training here.