So you have worked hard on designing a powerful message for your next presentation. You now turn to the presentation to fine tune your performance skills which are grounded in three key elements : deliberative practice, confidence ( self-efficacy and mental toughness) and connecting by demonstrating your competence (expertise or point of view based on data or life experiences). I am not about to tell anyone that a presenter who lacks substance and clarity of thought and an organized and powerful message can transform overnight into a great speaker by changing his thinking or mental preparation. If you are confident but not organized or clear and compelling it is not smart to think you can achieve your goals by just “winging it”. This approach it’s still going to produce a boring and unproductive talk. You have to attain a level of expertise, create a clear and compelling message and demonstrate in real time self-confidence so as to connect with the audience. These are the “three secret” elements that I want to explore with you on this post. These elements are necessary to accomplish your goal of connecting and influencing your audience. Just like in golf, tennis, playing the violin, opera singing or any other performance art.
Having said that, I believe it’s impossible to overestimate the importance of the mental side of making an exceptional presentation. Your brain combined with the right habits—created through deliberative and repetitive practice can provide a strong foundation for your success in any performance art. Memory resides in your head. Therefore, no matter how long you practice a speech, no matter how skilled you think you are verbally, your mind and nerves can overwhelm your desire to execute when the moment of truth arises on the platform. Your muscles and the rest of your body are controlled by your mind. Unless you are mentally prepared and tough the mind may not be ready for “prime time”, your voice may not project your words in a strong way and it will be difficult to hear you, your knees or hands may shake and you may start to profusely sweet because of how your mind can trigger physical reactions to nervousness and low confidence. If your head is filled with poor experiences from the past or bad thoughts, your ability to communicate and connect will project bad vibes to your audience, thus under-minding your impact and influence on them.
Having control of your mind and being mentally tough can separate you from many other speakers. I believe every speaker has the potential to be much better than he or she is, and that using the mind cues and toughness is one essential way to improve. You will never know if you have the ability to be the best you can be, unless you commit yourself to designing, practicing and delivering your presentation with confidence and mental toughness.
As you know it’s the same when it comes to any other performance art. No one creates a speech or practices hard to go out on stage and lay an egg. Or to be an embarrassed by an average or boring speech. But you make a choice – to do what needs to be done to have a positive and hopefully a lasting impact or prepare for your presentation on the run, or seeing practicing as a necessary evil or waste of time. Remember over time your choices put in place habits like positive mindset, skillset and smart actions that can build your reputation as a “great communicator” or just another boring presenter.
Keep us posted on your progress or any barriers that are getting in your way with wick community of problem solvers and learners we our here to support your journey to be –the best you can be. Good Luck and Never, Never Give-up.