Author Hedley Galt is the founder of The Presenter Centre. She has an impressive list of clients including big guns Channel Nine, ABC Television and Gucci. Whoa! Galt is the go-to woman in presentation skill mastery. She helps clients identify their core message and communicate it with a humanness that ensures it is received with power. This former TV presenter and boutique model agency manager helps people express themselves with greater oomph, confidence and originality.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Zoe. It is really wonderful to be here and if any of you actually stood up here, a few of you are here tonight. There’s a myth going around in presenting in public speaking which is that if you are feeling a little bit nervous, to imagine your audience naked. So right now, I’m a little bit nervous I imagine you all are naked. But I actually thought the reason for that is because being up here is it is quite of an exposing place to be. In fact this is where I feel we are most naked. So I thought tonight we could actually shake things up a little bit rather than made to stand up here and feel be exposed and be imagining you naked, I thought why don’t we all together embrace our nakedness.
For this to work we all have to be in on it. So, we can’t just have everyone embracing their nakedness and one person was like no, I’m not, I’m not embracing my nakedness tonight. We all have to be in it. So is everyone in on embracing their nakedness tonight?
Yes? Okay. Good. Excellent. Great!
So how are we feeling? Are you nervous now? Good, good. Ok, so we’ll get to that. But I’ve only got a short amount of time to convince you to take it off so I’ll start.
Were actually gonna move back to 1999 and when I was living in Los Angeles. And I came across Los Angeles by accident actually and I was originally struggling to work on a tennis tournament over in New York for part of my final year at a University. And it was to work on a tennis tournament as part of my final year of Sports Science degree, which I never actually used. But it did get me to Los Angeles and it was kind of like stepping off the plane for the first time. And I just fell in love with the city. Has anyone been to Los Angeles before? It was when I stepped off the plane, I just fell in love with the city. I really just loved the energy of the place. I fell in love with the people. I fell in love with just the whole buzz of the city. And it was kind of, for me, one other cities where I would have a thought and that thought would just manifest. It would be, I’d walk down the street and think I’d really like to meet a hot brazilian surfer and there he was.
I was actually at a party one night and I’d had the thought that I would like to try, I was only early twenties, and I had the thought that I would like to try television presenting. And I had no experience, I had no training I had no nothing. But I was in Los Angeles and it was the kind of place where you know, dreams come true. So i though well i’d love to try TV presenting. I was at this party and I was talking to a girl over margaritas and she asked me what are you doing in Los Angeles? And I said well I’m actually just traveling but what I’d really like to do is a little bit if TV presenting. I’d like to give it a shot. She said “wow that’s amazing, I’m the executive producer of a television show for a local cable station and we’re actually looking for some new talent so why don’t you come down and we’ll give you a shot”. And I said ok let me think about that. So I didn’t give it too much thought and the next week I was striding very confidently through the doors of City Cable 22.
No ones seem to have heard of City Cable 22. Which is actually not to be, as is to be expected really ‘cause no one has really heard of City Cable 22. In fact not even the residents of Torrence, for who the cable station was, have heard of City Cable 22. Nevertheless, this was going to be my big break. This was going to be my launching to the big time. I was going to be the star television presenter and of the 12 or so people who are watching. One of them was going to be a big time producer for NBC, CNN, HBO, whatever, and they’re going to spot my natural talent and they were going to say well we need to get you on board with us and slap a million dollar contract on the table.
So this was all planned out before I’ve actually done any TV presenting of course. So, I was put through some voice classes and did pretty well. And then was sent out on the street for my first story which was the opening of the local salon hair salon this was on big time journalism. And so I went out and I was given a cameraman for the event ,Joe. And Joe had done this a few times before. In fact, Joe was very experienced and Joe was I think a little bit pissed off that he’d been given a novice. This is when it kind of started to kick in that I had no idea what I was doing. I had kind of clicked in with the whole idea that I was gonna be this big famous television presenter but I had kind of forgotten that I had to present. So anyway I was kind of looking to Joe for some guidance for pretty much everything and Joe said “look you just stand there and I’ll just set up”. And as he was setting up, I had the microphone, as he was setting I was looking at the camera and it was a moment that I’ll never forget because all of a sudden I saw the red light go on. Everything just started to crumble.
Just right then I had an experience that I’ve never had before. And to be honest I actually thought that the big one decided to happen right then and there and I would be recorded in an earthquake because all of a sudden everything started shaking. But of course it wasn’t an earthquake because nothing other than my body was shaking and my legs I thought would buckle. My heart was pounding so much that I actually thought it was going to come through my shirt. I thought it came through my shirt and my hand was shaking so much that I couldn’t hold the microphone straight. Of course when Joe said action nothing came out and it was probably one of the most traumatic experiences because I had thought that I would be a natural. I thought that I would stand up. I’m a confident person. I like talking to people. I like having a laugh. I enjoy asking questions and finding out about people and I just thought what’s the big deal if their’s a camera in front of you. I thought well this is obviously just normal. But the minute that red light went on something happened and I completely lost my way so I thought ok, this is alright. Joe was like cut, rolled his eyes, start again. I’m like okay, take a few deep breaths, you could do it, you could do it, you could do it. Sure enough to red light goes on, the same thing happens again.
Short and traumatic, well long and traumatic story short is that it took Joe 21 takes to get not a good one. Not even a decent one, but kind of like one that we could at least get by with. It was the lost for words, Joe was like, that will do. And now it’s pretty much the start of my media career.
I am assuming that at some point most of us have experienced that anxiety that we feel before we set up in front of a group of people. And it can be quite debilitating and it really can actually sabotage what it is that we’re trying to do. So one of the things as I said, I enrolled in a number presentation skills programs, which was great because it gave me the ability to stand up and start to get some feedback. Start to see my self on camera, get some feedback from the group and just start to build my confidence.
And this is the start or the birth of what I’ve since called original presenting. Which is presenting from a place of truth. And that is people always say when you’re about to stand up and present, “ah just be yourself”, and then you’re thinking, who the fuck am I? You know? It kind of creates this idea of, hang on if I got to be myself well then who do I have to be? So it’s been a long process but part of this idea the original presenting started from thinking of what’s missing here. And there’s this idea of understanding who we are and what is it that this environment brings up in us. And then looking at, if we can look at that, then perhaps we don’t need to overcome our fears. Perhaps we don’t need to have tips and strategies and techniques to say manipulate an audience into giving us what we want. Perhaps we can actually, if we were just to be ourselves, to be real and to speak from the heart and to be vulnerable. Perhaps that is the trick. That’s what we want to be. That’s what we want to do.
So I started to look at presenting as, the history of presenting and where it came from. Actually I love words and I love where words come from. The word presenter actually originates from, it’s a derivative of latin the word presentare if anyone knows latin I do not know if I pronounced that right. Presentare. And the definition of presentare, means to place before. And in medieval times what they actually did when they presented was they actually got down on one knee and with the gift in their hands they bow their heads and they raise their gifts above their heads to the person that they’re offering it to. I’ve just noticed it that they’re here. Now if you think about this, think about this concept, and if you are standing in front of a group of people and you are trying to give them this experience. Think of how that might change your experience of being in front of a group of people. In fact you’re not actually here for yourself. You’re here as a conduit to give the gift that you’re here to give. And this is what started to really excite me because all of a sudden that started to free me up. All of a sudden it really wasn’t about me.
Now if we look at presenting from the definition that we’re actually here to give a gift. Immediately it takes away the pressure off yourself and that in a sense you’re not there for yourself and to meet your own needs. You’re actually there to meet the needs of others and all the sudden it just takes away all of that fear. And what was really interesting was that in the giving of the gift we actually get our own needs met. And that is what I find really quite remarkable in all of these processes. When we can see this as an opportunity to give we’re no longer looking for others to meet our needs. In fact we’re actually meeting the needs of others and then getting our needs met.
So we are going to get naked by the way it’s just a, I haven’t forgotten.
So our round is presenting to give and it kind of goes back to, when did we learn to not? When did all this breakdown happen? And it really does go back to the origins. And when we talk about original presenting it’s about claiming our origins, but also claiming where we’ve moved away from the truth of who we are. And it does start at birth. And again this is just one philosophy that I’m offering and it either resonates with your doesn’t but it’s just one philosophy.
That at birth, what happens is that when we are born and the umbilical cord is cut we are reliant on the external world to meet our needs. And we look to our parents to meet those needs for us. We also then look to our teachers and certain authoritative figures in our life to meet our needs. And that is our conditioning now. What starts to happen is that our critical brain has not yet developed at that age. So what we start to learn is some messages or conditionings that start to give us the idea that perhaps we are not all that we are.
For example as a little girl I actually loved getting naked. I loved it. Two things I wanted in life, to be naked, to be famous. And I came across my brother’s Playboy and I thought all my dreams can come at once. One small problem. Anyway, that’s beside the point. So, it was interesting because I got for my birthday, I must have been 3 or 4 and I got a beautiful orange swimsuit for my birthday and I begged mom if I could wear it to kindergarten. And she said yes. And as soon as I got to kindergarten, I ripped off my dress and I’m prancing around the playground in this beautiful bright orange swimsuit and having the time of my life. And then sure enough I hear across the playground, “Hedley Galt put some clothes on you look ridiculous”. And if you think about it, as the three or four year old who’s just having the time of her life, and she just been told by an authoritative teacher put some clothes on you look ridiculous, you can start to see how those messages become our conditioning.
So what we have to start to do is to learn to claim our original nature. The truth of who we are and that is very much expressed in our nakedness. And there’s a whole process that I’ve since developed around claiming our original presenting. The first step being the claiming of our original nature. This is even before we’ve gone out to communicate our message. Because before we can communicate with originality we have to be connected. We have to connect not only with ourselves in the present moment, we have to connect to our message and we have to connect to our audience. But we can’t do that if we are so caught up up with all these unconscious assumptions and fears that we still got kind of buried back in the darkness from long time ago. So the first part of this before you’ve even got in from the camera or in the front of the stage is to claim our original nature. And one part of claiming our original nature is our physical expression and our original nature is very much expressed in our physicality and our physical body and in fact a stat, I think Eloise mentioned that 95% of women is this, 97, 97%, extra 2 percent. 97% of women will say something negative about their body every single day. Now if you don’t think that you’re communicating the way you feel about yourself when you stand up in front of an audience you could think again because your body at all times is communicating. 93% of communication is non-verbal. So if we don’t claim who we are in our physical expression then we will be communicating this when we stand up in front of an audience. So one of the things before we even get to communicating our message is claiming our physicality.
This here is a really powerful mirror and that if you have a message and it’s powerful and you need to get that message across until you can actually see this for what it is. Until you actually can look in the mirror and be honest with what their reflection is saying, you’re not going to get your message across. So what we need to do is to look into the mirror and it’s not that we’re afraid of what’s in front of us. It’s we’re afraid of what’s reflecting back. And that is our own self judgment. It’s actually not the judgment of others. So part of this fear is actually accepting that we are the ones judging ourselves. We are the ones who are not accepting. Sure of course, there might be some people who have set ideas or whatever it is about us but if we accept ourselves and especially our physicality it really doesn’t matter what anyone else is saying because we’ve accepted it. So long as we’re not accepting it, we will have that reflected back to us. So part of, and this is just one little, just scratching the surface. Part of you claiming your originality is claiming your origins is the truth of who you are. Claiming your physical expression.
And I mentioned at the beginning of this presentation that we would tonight be embracing and nakedness the time has come my friends. And the good news is you actually do not have to take off any item of clothing because your nakedness is your original expression. It’s how you came into the world. This is not who you are. You actually don’t have to do anything to be naked. You actually have to do something to put your clothes on. It’s like your originality. You don’t have to do anything to be original. You have to do something to not be. It’s actually claiming your physicality. That’s just one part of it. If you can go home tonight, if you can actually stand in the mirror and you don’t have to like something. You just have to accept it. And once you accept it then you will have that reflected back to you when you stand up and present. You’ll be more clear. You’ll have less blocks. To be able to stand up, to be able to be present and to get your message across and to make a difference to others. Because the whole purpose of being here is to offer the gift that we’re here to offer and to do it in a way that we’re making a difference to others.
This is not about me, this is not about you. But it can’t be about others until we make it about ourselves and we claim the aspects that we haven’t. And then we are free to give.