Leanne Hughes Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

Leanne Hughes – Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

This month we have an amazing Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom from the ever-talented Leanne Hughes!

Leanne is the founder at leannehughes.com, where she helps project teams around the world, deliver their results ahead of time. Not only does she facilitate some of the most productive workshops internationally, but she also coaches others on perfecting the art of facilitation.

Leanne is also the host of the amazing ‘First Time Facilitator’ podcast. In her podcast, you will hear stories, tricks and tips from some of the biggest names in facilitation along with other industry heavy hitters from Jordan Harbinger to me (Check out ep 100 and 141).

Leanne is a master of creating powerful group dynamics, presentations and everything in between. Today we are lucky enough to hear Leanne’s advice on facilitation.

  1. Small performances before big performances: Unfortunately, we only really pay attention to mastering our presentation skills when we need it: When we need to pitch an idea to an audience of leaders or share our plans with our department teams.  The best way to prepare for any type of big presentation is to find smaller opportunities, every day, to speak up. If you have daily stand-up meetings, find an opportunity to share a message, volunteer to deliver a lunch and learn session, and contribute your ideas in meetings. You can also practice outside of the workplace – Start conversations with the barista, and incorporate some of the skills you might use in a presentation. The accumulation of these smaller moments will serve you incredibly well for the bigger moments. Wherever you can, take the opportunity to present.
  2. Reality Check: It’s not about you: A quick way to build up your nerves is to think that your presentation is all about you. A quote that helped me break away from this mindset is: “If you stand in service, you won’t be nervous”. Really dig into the minds of the people attending your session: What new skills, knowledge would you like them to walk away with? What experience would you like them to have? Then, re-engineer your presentation to make that happen for your audience. This leads into my next point…
  3. Step away from PowerPoint: We often associate “Presentations” with “PowerPoint”. Break that association! There is no universal/corporate law that a PowerPoint presentation must accompany your presentation. In fact, if you present without a PowerPoint, you’ll immediately stand out! Start with mapping out what your audience might want to think, feel, say or do differently as a result of seeing your presentation (see point 2), then consider the mediums which may help communicate that message: A video, a story an activity where you get your audience to answer a question, a flipchart diagram, bullet points on a palm card.
  4. Try one new thing every time you present: It’s easy to get overwhelmed when considering using new body language techniques: Eye contact, moderating your voice and pace, using your hands. Instead of trying to incorporate all of these different elements into every presentation, simply focus on one thing. The next time you need to share an idea in a meeting, think, “When I do this, I’ll simply focus on looking at everyone in the room” – you can of course apply this to virtual presentations as well, “I’ll use my hands more”, “I’ll use more pauses when I share my story”. Having one point of focus helps you practice, refine and avoid that feeling of overwhelm.
  5. Co-present/co-facilitate: If you’ve ever been SCUBA diving, you’ll know about the buddy concept. If you’re diving into deep water, you have a buddy with you always, who double-checks your gear before you dive in the water, and explores the ocean with you, in close proximity. Sometimes the best way to get your confidence up is to find a colleague who also wants to develop their presentation skills and present together. Co-facilitators can also be great sources of feedback – check in with and ask for their candid feedback. Create a relationship where it’s safe to provide commentary, so you can both rapidly build your presentation skills and ultimately, your confidence!

If you would like to connect with Leanne you can find her here: