by Peter Watts
The philosopher Rene Descartes said “I think, therefore I am”. For presenters, this line of wisdom is extended to:
“I am what I think”
Start a presentation thinking “I’m confident and I’m prepared”, and your session unfolds in accordance with that thought. Nerves diminish, and you move easily from point to point. Go into a presentation thinking “I don’t want to do this and I can’t remember what I’m meant to be talking about”, and you’ll find that this too will come to pass!
What we tell ourselves is our reality before a presentation, all too easily becomes our reality during the presentation.
This is the same world as that inhabited by professional athletes. What words go through the mind of an athlete as they line-up at the start of a race?Words that focus on victory, or words that focus on defeat?
If an athlete focussed on the message “I’m going to come out of these blocks, surge forward ten steps, and then trip over my own feet and go flat on my face” this self-destructive mantra would become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Professional sports people visualise success and maintain a continuous inner-dialogue that supports that vision. As presenters we have that same inner dialogue.
What is yours telling you about presenting? Is it positive or negative? Passionate or pessimistic?
Be aware of what your inner voice is telling you. Challenge negatives and praise positives. If the voice predicts doom, then challenge back with success. If the voice says “You’re going to fail”, then say back “I’m going to succeed!”
Remember pro-athletes and what works for them. The same sports psychology techniques also work for us!
“I think therefore I am”
I am therefore, what I think
For more ideas on how to control presentation nerves, try the following Presenters’s Blog posts: