Have you ever watched athletes in the minutes before they race or perform? They are very focused and sometimes you can see them twitching and moving their body, depending on their sport. Luge, diving, gymnastics, sprinters, a basketball player about to shoot a free-throw…..they all go through their performance in their mind before they compete.
Do you think they make any mistakes in their mind? No, they don’t.
The beauty of visual rehearsal is that you get to practice perfectly, and as famous football coach Vince Lombardi said,
“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”
There are a number of studies that demonstrate the impact of visual rehearsal or mental imagery leading to a faster improvement in sporting skill.
Speakers can use this valuable tool also.
You actually might be using it and not realizing it, and it might be doing you more harm than good – that is, if you imagine things going terribly wrong.
If you tend to worry about public speaking, you are most likely picturing (visually rehearsing) how you don’t want it to go – forgetting what to say, tripping, people laughing…..I don’t know – what are you most afraid of?
If visual rehearsal is so powerful to create results, then you want to be taking charge of what you rehearse, and take charge of how you want your performance to be.
Use visual rehearsal as a tool to prepare and practice for a speaking opportunity; whether it’s just a one-on-one conversation or meeting, speaking for 30-60 seconds at a networking group or doing a full-on presentation.
See yourself performing the way you want to and see the audience responding to you the way you want them to also.
Imagine a standing ovation even.
You can view your rehearsal as if you are in the audience watching you, or you can step into your body and be right there in the moment. Do both!
This doesn’t mean don’t do any full practice of your talk. You still need to get the feel of those words in your mouth, and the way you want to move when speaking, just like an athlete still needs to do their training drills.
If you want to perform well, then use all the tools available to prepare as fully as possible. It will be better for your audience, and you will be more likely to get the outcome you desire.
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