Jedi Mind Tricks for Presentations

You have to give a presentation in front of a big group. But when they introduce you, you say to everyone:

“You don’t need to see my presentation. These aren’t the slides you’re looking for. You can go about your business. Move along.”

What a great trick that would be! But that’s not what I’m going to describe to you here. No, I’m talking about mind control of a different kind:


When you speak to people in any kind of important situation such as a presentation, networking event or interview, you need to persuade two parties of your utter brillance:

  1. You.
  2. Them.

You’ll need to do it in that order. Here’s how:

1. Open Your Mind

Visualize success. Sounds daft but it really works. Imagine yourself having a great time, being confident, witty and informative. You’re not creating a vision of perfection that will come true, you’re convincing your subconscious that you enjoy speaking.

Remember that you’ve done your preparation (you prepared, right?), that you’re an expert in this subject (otherwise, why else would you be speaking?) and that ultimately your audience wants you to do well. Yes, they do. They may look bored but they want you to succeed.

 2. Fake It to Make It

Step into the role of the brilliant presenter: give them eye contact, a big smile, and a big ‘hello’. You may be absolutely terrified, but give them a good enough beginning and they’ll relax because you look like you know what you’re doing. Be in the moment. Look at what’s happening in the room – if you sense a drop in their attention, then ask them a question. Even better, start with a question to fire their synapses and engage them. Most audiences I see aren’t expecting this, they just want to sit back and relax. Get them involved and show that you care about what they want.

By putting on your game face, you can be that wonderful communicator even if you don’t feel like it to begin with. And that’s the trick.


If you can get your mind game sorted before you get up to speak, you’ll be unstoppable. The basis of my mind game is that while I know I can’t control exactly what’s going to happen, I know my stuff and I really love it. That’s it. Move along.

Related Posts

Nail the Presentation – Start Well

Be Yourself- Be Someone Else

Super-Ego! (or Play a Role to Be Yourself)


One thought on “Jedi Mind Tricks for Presentations

  1. Hi Jon – thanks for this post. I like the idea of starting with a question – I can see how that can act as a useful hook.

    I’m really torn on this fake it to make it idea though. I am a nervous speaker, I rely on those nerves to jump start me – and yet they are sometimes a problem. Rather than fake my way out, I deal with the nerves by calling them out, letting people know ‘I’m nervous’. I often get told by professional speakers that this is not the way to go – yet the feedback I receive from people who attend events where I’m speaking – is that they appreciate this honesty and find it helpful. How can we pursue something more authentic, do you think?

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