Unleashing Your Communication & Performance Potential




Speaking Secrets You Will Not Learn from a College Textbook



To Win at Speaking with the Mind means that you understand that the true power of speech comes from being able to tap the bottomless well of your mind and spirit and allow your words to be formed and guided by them. It means that you are a student of your potential and you are aware of the unlimited potential of your listeners.


In last month’s newsletter, we looked at how you can create your reality with the power of your imagination. We know that just as imagination can help us, imagination used negatively can hurt us. An example of that is when someone who is preparing to speak gets extremely nervous. Then we can use the power of our imagination to overcome speaking jitters. I have attempted to capture the “feel” of that quest in a poem, In Speech Excel, In Life be Well. One of the verses emphasizes the importance of going beyond technique:

Thus learned the student in speech excelling

Is not alone by technique fine,

But imagination unleashed, indwelling,

Releases power, confidence sublime.


In part 2 of this series, let’s consider mental principles for speaking success that you can begin to apply immediately:

The Ancestor of Every Action is a Thought

Actions don’t happen in a vacuum. US News & World Report on February 28, 2005 had a cover story, The Secret Mind: How Your Unconscious Really Shapes Your Decisions. It stated, “We are conscious of only 5% of our cognitive activity, so most of our decisions, actions, and behavior depend on the 95% of the brain activity that goes beyond our conscious awareness.” Think about it. Everything you and I do, especially those things we do “without much thought” are still driven by thought, and much of it, by thoughts driven by the unconscious or subconscious mind. That leads us to the next principle –

Be Intentional About What You Expose to Your Subconscious Mind

We are always sowing seeds into our subconscious mind. Some of these seeds will grow in the subconscious and eventually move into the conscious mind. These thoughts will influence our actions. In the movie Eat, Pray, Love, the character played by Julia Roberts is given the sage advice: “Select your thoughts the way you select your clothes everyday.” One could argue that the quality of our thoughts is more important than the quality of our clothes. If that is so, let’s make sure that our minds, both conscious and subconscious, are clothed with quality thoughts. You can choose not to expose your mind to negative and destructive input. If you are exposed to it despite your wishes, you can refuse to let those poison arrows pierce your heart.

What You Think about Expands

A thought is a living, breathing packet of energy. Paying continuous attention to a thought feeds it, causing it to grow bigger and occupy more space in your life. Therefore choose the thoughts that you want to take more space in your life.

What You Oppose Weakens You; What You Support Strengthens You

This is a principle I learned from author and philosopher Wayne Dyer. Consider how energetic you feel when you say, “ I do not stutter when I speak.” Then consider your energy level when you tell yourself, “I speak with confidence and fluency.” Focus on the positive, not the negative. The subconscious mind does not hear the word “not.” So if you focus on “not” stuttering, the subconscious mind hears “stuttering.” The subconscious mind tries to deliver what it repeatedly hears.

Want it but Be Willing to Let it Go

Make clear to your mind your intention and desire. Take action to achieve what you want, but don’t be obsessed by it. If you become obsessed, the subconscious will interpret it as “desperation.” When the subconscious mind interprets that you are “desperate” about achieving a desire, its perception will be that you do not really believe that you will get what you want. Therefore, the subconscious mind will ensure that you don’t achieve it. It seems like a paradox, doesn’t it? Want it and work for it, but be willing to let go of it. This is sage advice for speech contestants. I wish I knew that when, in 1993, I reached the World Championship of Public Speaking for the second year in a row … but wanted to win it too badly. The good news for me is that I learned a great life lesson in the aftermath of that great disappointment.


More about “Nevilizing’ Your Goals

In Last month’s newsletter I mentioned author and entrepreneur Joe Vitale who, in his powerful Nightingale Conant audio program, The Missing Secret, promotes a technique that was first described by Neville Godard a great thinker, writer, and speaker about human potential. Neville Goddard used to often autograph his books with his own quote, “Assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled.” He meant that in bringing into being your intention for your performance in an event that is yet to happen, assume that the event has happened just the way you want it to be, and immerse yourself in the feelings you would feel when it happened just that way. What I want to add as a supplement to that approach is to write a report of how and what you did so excellently and the resultant powerful, positive emotions you felt. This event would not have actually happened yet, but you write a report as if it had happened in just the way you wanted it to happen. Read that report regularly and drench it with your positive feelings. Then see how your reality comes to match the way you reported it. “Assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled.”


Next month’s newsletter will include the final part 3 of

Winning at Speaking with Your Mind.


Test Your Knowledge About Human Imagination and Creativity. Pick one answer for each question. Answers to the quiz are given at the bottom of this column.

1. What percent of our thinking activity are we really aware of?

(a) 90% (b) 75% (c) 50% (d) 10% (e) 5%


2. How many times more powerful are negative statements than positive statements on our psyche, according to a study done at MIT?

(a) 5% (b) 10% (c) 16% (d) 50% (e) There is no difference


3. The human brain is how much faster than the most advanced supercomputer in the world?

(a) 2x (b) 100x (c) 1000x (d) 0.1x (e) 0.5x


4. Blocks to our ability to tap our imagination do NOT include:

(a) Unwillingness to forgive (b) playfulness (c) laughter (d) colors (e) being relaxed


5. Creativity is most likely to happen when you engage in what kind of brain activity?

(a) left brain (b) right brain (c) whole brain (d) no brain (e) does not matter which brain it is.

Quote to Think About

“All that man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.”

-- James Allen

Answers to Quiz
1. (e) 5%
2. (c) 16%
3. (c) 1000x
4. (a) Unwillingness to forgive
5. (c) Whole brain


Dr. Dilip Abayasekara
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