How this trick instantly turned Presentation Panic into Cool Composure

Frankie Kemp

5 December 2022

What would it be like if you could drastically change your state in 2 minutes?


✅You could go from fear to confidence.

✅Subjugation to empowerment.

I’m referring to events such as:

  1.  a sense of being undermined;
  2.  the terror before presenting;
  3.  a conversation where you’re called upon to account for your actions.

Here’s the story of Jean (not her real name), a Business Change Management Consultant, and how she transformed terror to a sense of control.


How Showjumping helped Jean with Presentation Terror

It wasn’t hot in the room but she insisted on opening windows. Then turned up the heating.

Intriguing behaviour, thought I, for I am the facilitator of this Presentation Training workshop.

I observed as she took control of the space.

Didn’t last long though.

As soon as she got up to deliver her presentation in front of 8 other participants, she crumbled.

Jean, a Business Consultant, choked through her tears, “I can’t do this. I can’t.”

At this point, I decided to give time to a tremendous technique which is a variation on the Power Pose {link}

I asked her how she wanted to feel, knowing not everyone is pursuing confidence before a presentation.

“Control. Like I’ve got the reins… when I’m showjumping.”

Turns out, showjumping is an avid interest of hers.

“Let’s have you sitting on your horse then.”

She looked at me quizzically, as I drew up a chair.

Where that chair was positioned is what is called, ”

“Sit down, Jean. On your horse,” she sat down, tentatively.

“Are you at a Rodeo, Jean ?”


“Hold the reins!”

“Oh!” she grabbed her imaginary reins.

“You’re wearing a riding jacket. ”

Immediately, she pulled her back straight, lifting her chin. She looked assured.

We placed the judges, the audience, the hedges and jumps.

We heard that tense silence and the hooves clomping on the ground.

She told me what she was:

– feeling; ?
– seeing;  ?️
– hearing. ??


How to instantly recall that positive experience [‘Stapling’]

Then I told her to ‘Staple’ it: do something discreet that she could associate with that scenario.

It can’t be as subtle as blinking as you always do it. Anything obvious like a jump would be instantly noticeable to others.

You need to be able to access this state in public.  Pressing your index finger into the palm of your hand may be enough. ??

Once she’d acted on the physical prompt, I told, her to shake it out. Literally. Get up from the chair, step away from that area by about a metre and shake the feeling off.

That wasn’t the end, though.

Jean was instructed to get back in that seat, immersing herself in the scene as before.

  1. One minute later, staple it. Step out from the area. Shake it out.
  2. One more time, for 30 seconds.
  3. Leave the area (again, a metre or so from the chair)
  4. Then shake out the state.


Walking into composure

Others presented. Then it was Jean’s turn.

She walked into position.

Her shoulders dropped. There was a smooth, gentle lift of the chin and her back straightened.

Settling into the space, she met everyone’s eyes and smiled before delivering a compelling message.

I hadn’t seen the staple she used as she had pressed her thumb into the centre of her palm while she was walking to the space.  It was at that moment she plugged into her equilibrium. ⚖️

This whole exercise took 10 minutes but to recall access that state can happen in an instant.


Here are the steps:

1. Think of how you want to feel.
2. Recall or imagine the situation that evokes that.
3. Step into that scene (could be stepping forward into a chair, or into an imaginary circle in front of you).
4. Imagine what you see / hear / feel
5. Once you sense it’s embodied you and resonates, staple it. (don’t let the feeling fade before you staple it. Staple at its height)
6. Step out of the space
7. Physically shake out
8. Step back into the space and repeat steps 3. to 5.
9. Repeat twice.
10. That’s it. Now whenever you use that staple, you’ll be in that zone.


Your Action:

  1. Think of a time when you need to change your state.
  2. Define how you’d like to feel.
  3. Take 10 minutes to follow the steps above.
  4. When you’re in that situation, remember to use the staple to trigger the state.


If you’re absolutely sh!tting yourself before presenting, interviews or difficult interactions, I can help.
I work with teams and individuals both virtually as well as in-person.  Look here for some of the options.

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