Becoming The Zen Speaker
As I prepared for the Rape Crisis Center’s Annual Denim Day Luncheon in Las Vegas last month, I realized my ritual for the day of a speech is a combination of several activities designed to make sure I’m calm, confident and compelling when I speak. In fact, it begins the night before the speech.
You may want to use some or all of these six techniques as you prepare to dazzle the audience:
- Do everything in your power to block out any other appointments or chores for that day. Do your running around the day before so you can concentrate on the important task at hand—giving your best speech.
- You won’t catch me practicing my speech over and over on the day I’m delivering it. That doesn’t mean I don’t go over it. You just won’t catch me, because it’s rehearsed in my head that day. Get in a relaxed state of mind through meditation (the length depends on whether you’re speaking in the morning or evening, and if you’re rushed) and mentally go over the speech once, noticing if there is anything that feels it needs to be changed, eliminated, tweaked or just practiced more. Make whatever changes are necessary and repeat the process in that relaxed state.
- Visualize giving your most compelling speech! Close your eyes and mentally see yourself entering the room, calmly networking with audience members, being introduced, approaching the podium, smiling, and delivering a meaningful, effective and memorable speech. Hear the applause!
- Repeat affirmations. No more saying, “I’m nervous!” and having that become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Verbally or mentally repeat affirmations such as, “I’m a calm, confident and compelling speaker. My audience wants to hear what I say and they appreciate me. I am prepared and ready.” This works and will put you in a state of mind where you are calm and project warmth to the audience. My new guided inspiration will help you model this practice.
- Breathe! Make sure you are breathing from your diaphragm and take a few slow, deep breaths. And now, it’s show time!
What rituals do you practice before an important meeting or a presentation or keynote speech? Send me your favorites.