I was reminded of this when recently working with a client. He confided in me that just before our last session he was informed that a colleague had been in an accident. He was upset but knew that he had to go on with the rest of the day and then afterwards focus on his friend. I was impressed by his commitment to stay in the moment and continue working with me. This is what we need to do when giving a speech.
The organizer is not interested in hearing about the fight with your teenager about their curfew, or that your luggage was lost. Leave your baggage at the door.
My physio, Grant Fedoruk and all his staff at Leading Edge greet me with a fond hello when I enter the clinic. His policy is that no matter how his staff feels that day they come into work or what happened to them before they came to work, when they walk through the door, they must let that go and focus on the patient. Make us feel as comfortable as possible before they stick the IMS needles in our back!
Here’s some suggestions on letting go before you give that speech:
Breathe, breathe breathe!
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? When we take deep breaths, we activate the rest and digest parasympathetic nervous system which calms us down. You’ll probably be taking a few when talking with your teen anyway, so, before you get into the room, do a few rounds of breathing deeply.
“When you meditate every day, habitually, you have decreased levels of anxiety. This is because when you meditate often, you’re actually disconnecting or altering the interior neural pathways in your head. While this sounds like you’re damaging your brain, you’re actually not. You’re giving it room to breathe.” Meditation for Beginners, Justin Albert
I’ll confess, at times it is hard for me to settle my mind, especially when I am upset. But I’ve found this series works for me.
Breathe in and out, slowly.
Breathe in and count 1 in your mind.
Breathe in and count 1, 2 in your mind
Breathe in and count 1, 2, 3 in your mind
Breathe up to 10 and then start over again.
In the movie, All That Jazz, Roy Scheider’s character looks in the mirror every morning after he’s been out all-night drinking, smoking, and carousing and says, “It’s showtime, folks”.
You’ve been asked to give this presentation and the show must go on.
Think your way out!
This is where positive thinking comes in. How can you switch that yelling match you just had with your teenager and get into the room to deliver your speech? In his book, Buddha’s Brain, Rick Hanson cites studies that prove that we process negative thoughts faster and hold onto them longer than positive. This can be tricky to get your mind on the path to positivity. But you’ve done the work on your presentation so don’t let that fight ruin it.
Try an affirmation like:
I am confident!
I am successful!
I’ve got this!
Say it out loud when you’re driving to the venue or walking to the boardroom. Think of it when you’re sitting at the table waiting to go up to the lectern. The more you do this the more you’ll believe it and change those neural pathways in your brain.