If you are the kind that enjoys mind-tricking yourself, you might find these presentation skill practices useful.
Michael Phelps was going for the 10th gold medal of his career in the 200-meter butterfly race during the Olympics in Beijing. As soon as he dove in, his goggles started filling with water.
“I dove in and they filled up with water, and it got worse and worse during the race,” Phelps told reporters. “From the 150-meter wall to the finish, I couldn’t see the wall. I was just hoping I was winning.”
He continued on. He looked comfortable as he swung his arms in perfect motion. With a few meters to go he made one last stroke and then stretched out for the wall at the perfect distance, not being able to see if it was even there. When he looked up at the clock he had not only won the gold medal, but broken the world record.
How did he do it?
Visualization is basically day dreaming, that means we are all born to do this! The challenge we have with day dreaming is its haphazardness. The solution is to systematically and deliberately visualise all sorts of scenarios and your actions in these circumstances. Science showed that you could mentally prepare yourself better by practicing visualisation diligently.
The Inner Game:
Olymian Apolo Ohna, a legendary eight-time short track speed skating medalist in the Winter Olympics, learned how to skate by “watching and mimicking and copying what I saw, and then applying that in a way that I felt like was natural to my body.”
Babies learn the same way. They intuitively learn how to stand by watching and mimicking, and not by listening to adults’ instructions. Yet, we’ve lost most of the intuitive learning skills because our education systems have taught us out of it. The good news is, this hidden talent, is still within us.
Combining the two:
- Feed yourself with high quality presentations. Watch and feel them repeatedly. Michelle Obama, Jack Ma, Ken Robinson, Soong May-ling …
- Mimic them repeatedly. Mimic a variety of styles and occasions. Don’t be shy now. It’s ok to mimic. We all do that, right?
- Visualise your next presentations. Plug yourself into different simulations:You are on fire and everyone is laughing at all your jokes. Your PowerPoint fails. Your clicker fails. Audio fails. Obnoxious boss asking you to “go back one slide” repeatedly. You forget to wear your pants. Visualize your actions and reactions, your feelings, your self talks, the color of your shoe laces. Visualise how you go through them.
Then, begin again.
This is a method used by many. If you were to give these practices a go, remember to trust the process, and experience what it does to you. 💆🏻♂️