Unleashing Your Communication & Performance Potential

 

Part 3. WINNING AT SPEAKING … WITH THE MIND

Speaking Secrets You Will Not Learn from a College Textbook

 

“The 21st century will require new skills. Intuition… visualization, and creativity are just some of the tools you will need to be successful” says John Kehoe, author, lecturer, philanthropist, and mind power expert. None of the skills named above are traditionally taught to students at college or to professionals in business settings. They are not usually taught in seminars to speakers and most speaking professionals have only a rudimentary knowledge of them. One of my goals is to provide the knowledge to you, my reader, so that you can accelerate your progress toward mastery of the spoken word and written script. The speaker of the 21st century who learns and applies these skills will need less time to tap into greater reservoirs of information for speech preparation, have more insight into how to give greater value to audiences, and be more effective in engaging listeners.

 

In this third and final part of Winning at Speaking…with the Mind, you get an opportunity to strengthen your ability to imagine with specific exercises, and you will learn a simple four step approach to creating mental movies that will accelerate your progress toward becoming the speaker you want to be.

 

In the October 2012 Dilip’s Diamonds, we looked at five mental principles for speaking success. In my practice of speech coaching, I sometimes have clients who have difficulty imagining in ways that are visual or auditory or kinesthetic. Mind power expert Dane Spotts says, “[Imagination] is the fountainhead of creativity… As we get older we tend to rely more on logic and left brain activities and so the tendency is to let our powers of imagination diminish. Almost all children 12 and under when asked to close their eyes and “see” a particular object in their mind report being able to do so. In adults, that number drops to about 25%.” How can you recapture that ability? Just as you strengthen flabby muscles by physical exercises, you can strengthen your ability to imagine by doing mental exercises.

Exercises to Stretch Your Imagination

Note each phrase below; close your eyes; say the phrase out loud; let the image, sound, smell, or feeling appear in your consciousness. Look at it from different angles and add additional sensory input to make it more real:

  • Allow me to see a red apple.
  • Allow me to see a banana.
  • Allow me to hear the sound of a bird singing.
  • Allow me to see and hear a bird singing.
  • Allow me to feel the touch of silk.
  • Allow me to see a beautiful silk scarf and touch it.
  • Allow me to hear the sound of ocean waves hitting the shore and see them spread like a white carpet on the golden sands of the beach.
  • Allow me to see and smell a ripe banana.
  • Allow me to see the letter A.
  • Allow me to see the letter Z.
  • Allow me to see a blackboard.
  • Allow me to see someone writing each letter of the alphabet on a blackboard, and erasing it before writing the next one.

 

Do these exercises every day for a few minutes. Notice how, with practice, your ability to imagine gets stronger. You are preparing yourself to make your imagination really work for you, as explained below.

 

Creating Your Future with Your Imagination – Mental Movies in Four Easy Steps

In the September 2012 Dilip’s Diamonds I described a process on how to create your reality with the power of your imagination. Dane Spotts, in his book Super Brain Power, describes four steps to visualization that you can do in only five minutes a day. I’ve tried it. If you are serious about tapping your potential, you’ve got to apply it too. The only variation I would add is not to call this “visualization” because I don’t want you to confine the exercise to only “seeing,” but also to add auditory, kinesthetic (touch), and feeling components. If you can also add the senses of smelling and tasting to these exercises, that’s even better. Technically, this is really ‘Multi-sensory imagery,’ because you are using more than one sense. Let’s simply call it “Mental Movies” because that captures the whole concept in a dynamic way. Here is Dane Spotts’ method:

Step 1 -- A Simple Relaxation Exercise: Get into a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. With your eyes closed, roll them upwards slightly, as if you are trying to see the center of your forehead, and listen to yourself breathe. Focus your attention on slowly taking deep breaths, and on the sound of the air coming in and out of your lungs. Feel yourself relax. Do this breathing exercise five times; it will take only about 45 seconds. It will make your consciousness receptive to the next steps.

Step 2 – Recall an Empowering Experience: Recall a past memory where you were extremely happy – “on top of the world.” It doesn’t matter when or where it was; what’s important is that you felt extremely empowered, happy, and had a “winning” feeling. See yourself and others in that memory; hear the congratulations; feel the slaps on the back and the congratulatory hugs; feel the sense of deep satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness. As Spotts states, “What you are doing here is bringing forward a positive emotion into your consciousness that will psychologically become linked with the future goal you want to achieve. Emotions are the key to anchoring the desired goal and giving energy to your unconscious.”

Step 3 – Envision the Future Goal You Desire: See, hear, and feel the future goal you desire as vividly as possible. As you do, be sure to continue to feel those winning feelings welling up inside of you from that previously lived experience (in step 2). The key point is that you see yourself as if you already achieved that goal. Involve as many senses as possible – seeing, hearing, feeling, touching, etc. – and drench it with positive emotions.

For example, for a speaker, if your future goal is to excel at giving a keynote, visualize yourself as having already delivered a fantastic keynote and now you are receiving a standing ovation from a delighted and inspired audience, You hear the words of thanks from the program chairman and feel his strong handshake and see his happy smile. You feel great and on top of the world! If your goal is to win the World Championship of Public Speaking, then you’ve just won it!! Fill in the scene of the glorious event!

Step 4 – Affirm Your Goal and Release it: Open your eyes and say out loud: “I now allow myself to have ___________,” filling in the blank with whatever it is that you want. Then say, “So be it. It is done.” This simple but powerful statement affirms the goal you just programmed, and then releases it into the universe so that you do not dwell on it. As I described in the October 2012 Dilip’s Diamonds, want it but be willing to let it go. By saying, “So be it. It is done,” you affirm your confidence in having achieved it (although it has not happened yet) and release attachment to the result.

 

Practice the four steps of the above mental movie for a speaking goal that is important for you, for five minutes everyday. Spotts states,“It will create a neural pathway of success in your brain and your life!”

 

In celebration of the season, next month’s newsletter will include a proven format on how to propose a toast!

 

Special Note About the Power of Gratitude

If you are in the USA, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. If you live outside the USA, I hope you gave thanks also! One of the most liberating feelings that a speaker can have is gratitude for his or her audience, for the meeting planner, and for the opportunity to speak. Why is this so? I think it is because when your heart is filled with gratitude, you realize the sacrifices that the audience members have made to be there to hear your presentation, the trouble the meeting planner has taken in order to help you do your best, and the incredible privilege you have to create a thing of beauty – your presentation – and deliver it as a gift to your audience. This is your chance to create and your chance to contribute to life and the world. Every time you prepare for a speech, every time you stand in front of an audience will then become an experience in Thanksgiving. That Thanksgiving feeling will release you to do your best, be your best, and feel your best. May your life be filled with Thanksgiving!


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Dr. Dilip Abayasekara
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Quote to Think About

“When an object or purpose is clearly held in thought, its precipitation, in tangible and visible form, is merely a question of time. The vision always precedes the realization.”

-- Lillian Whiting

 

If you found this newsletter helpful and would like more in-depth speech guidance, come join the Diamonds Club. Here is what you get from membership in the Diamonds Club:

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