Have you noticed how powerful the mind is?
How whenever we start to think about a forthcoming speech, pitch or presentation, all those images of how everything will go badly wrong come flooding into your mind?
It's incredible how the mind can make it seem so real.
These are the types of images I'd invariably have in my mind in the lead up to the meeting at which I was speaking.
Little wonder when looking back why I'd get palpitations weeks in advance of my presentation.
Seeing The Positive
A much more positive and powerful way to use your imagination is to see everything going well for you.
Many professional sports stars use this process of positive visualisation before their game or event.
With this technique, you visualise your incredible success and how you can see everyone smiling, nodding and supporting you during the presentation.
Hear all the enthusiastic applause as you finish and feel those 'pats on the back' for a presentation well delivered.
This technique helped me whenever I used to become stressed at the thought of delivering a speech in front of even eight colleagues.
I would close my eyes and visualise giving the speech in a stadium of 80,000 and a worldwide television audience.
• Standing on the stage in the warm summer sun.
• The sound of 80,000 clapping and cheering.
• The enormous crowd of smiling faces encouraging and supporting me.
After completing this visualisation a few times, when I later thought about delivering the same speech in front of my 8 colleagues, the fear had dramatically diminished.
In my mind, I'd now presented the speech successfully in front of 80,000, so speaking to 8 people seemed nothing in comparison.
Aim to get into the habit of keeping all the thoughts you have about your future presentations positive.
Stop yourself whenever an imagined worry or negative thought pops into your mind and becomes the focus of your attention.
I know this will be easier said than done, particularly in the beginning, but with practice, it will become a lot more straightforward for you.
You will then feel far more confident, relaxed and prepared for your presentation.
About the Author
Andy O'Sullivan is an international bestselling author of 5 books, a speaker and educator who has written extensively on the subject of how to survive and thrive in the business world with effective public speaking, pitching and presentation skills.