It has often been quipped that individuals are as afraid of speaking in front of an audience as they are of facing the IRS in an audit or the dentists’ chair. As with all true learning, public speaking needs rehearsal and practice in order to be accomplished in a captivating, coherent and convincing way.
There is a practice I have used (having been a speech teacher in a previous life) that has come to serve me well whenever I step up to the podium. (Yes, even seasoned public speakers get a case of the nerves from time to time). The practice is called visioning.
Borrowed from the sports arena, visioning entails seeing yourself as delivering that speech successfully before you ever say a word. Not unlike the great basketball player who “visions” himself sinking the 3 point shot, the successful speaker “visions” the speech to be flawless, articulate, teeming with great information and yes even humorous. The way I tell my students about it is to sit quietly in a chair an hour or two prior to the speech, close your eyes and actually “see” yourself from introduction to conclusion in delivering the speech. The act of “visualizing” success is tantamount to foretelling that indeed a successful speech is about to take place…from your words and your delivery!
The great Wayne Gretzy is often quoted, “You must skate to where the puck will be” and the same is true of speaking…you must envision yourself as the successful orator!