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The Value of Positive Ritual-Positive Habit – The Pre-Speech Ritual – Part II

As I spoke to in a previous post (Public Speaking Mastery – Start Creating Positive Speaking Habits Today): Rituals have existed in all societies in one form or another as a form of education, social endorsement, and important rite of passage. Rituals in the realm of public speaking can be used to make a clean break from previous negative experiences with public speaking and take the step to speaking success.
To be clear, herein I speak of rituals in a non-spiritual secular sense from a purely scientific vantage point. Rituals have always held several characteristics that make them powerful mechanisms of impacting change and personal growth.

The Purpose of Rital

In modern Western society we have many rites of passages which involve rituals such as confirmation, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, prom, etc. These rituals give us the same gifts humans have sought from the ritual process since early man. They initiate us into a new experience or stage of life that makes a lasting change or personal evolution. Rituals encourage personal growth, epiphanies and ultimately health self-esteem. All of these breakthroughs are vitally important in our lives but they all help in being a better public speaker. Truth is we can take the notion of ritual and apply it powerfully to overcoming our limitations in public speaking.

Pre-Speech Rituals

We have the capacity of applying many ritual methods that will help us be better prepared to speak, present or pitch. Once we practice and learn these methods we are able to bring our inner state to a place where we are only focused on performing well and nothing else (negative or otherwise). Here are my top 2 favorites:

Creative Visualization

What we see in our minds eye before an event happens is often how then it becomes realized in our daily lives. Most novice speakers experience fear, anxiety and trepidation when even thinking of giving a speech. They foster this state of mind because it is the only one they know and are unaware that they can learn another. Creative visualization is one such technique:

Creative visualization is the practice of seeking to affect our real world experience by changing our inner thoughts and expectations – in this case we are referring to using actual visualization(s). Creative visualization involves using your own internal visualization to guide you to new and positive practice of “seeing” public speaking as a positive experience.

  • Ask yourself: “What do I think of when I think about public speaking? What do I see internally or visualize? “
  • Find a safe, quiet and peaceful place where you can be relaxed. Sit in a relaxed posture and close your eyes.
  • Visualize the optimal conditions of delivering your speech. Run through it in great detail. See yourself perfectly executing the speech, the positive audience interaction, the smiles, the positive conclusion and evaluation of your performance. If you run through your speech several times this practice should yield a change in your confidence level and performance quality.
  • Repeat till you feel a change in your internal experience of speaking. You will notice an outer experience of looking more relaxed, smiling more and even seeing the audiences be more receptive.

Progressive Relaxation

Progressive relaxation involves slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group throughout the body. The focused technique is very helpful in helping one relieve the stress, anxiety held in the body. Practicing the relaxation response is quite simple. One again it helps for you to find a quite and relaxed place where you can practice is half the battle. Then simply following the steps below:

  • Start by tensing the muscles of the face and then letting that tension go.
  • It often helps to visualize the stress as smoke or heat and see it melt or float away as you practice this technique.
  • Then continue on down through the whole body the the shoulders, arms, hands, etc.
  • Always remembering to tense and relax each part slowly and enjoy letting go of your anxiety.

Once you get the hang of these basic techniques you can start by combining creative visualization and progressive relaxation to your fear of public speaking. Using both of these techniques yield results but require persistent patient practice. This is merely one of the things you learn in our public speaking and communication training the Institute of Public Speaking. Contact us today to learn more.

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