Paul Lisnek on public speaking and staying positive

“Success in public speaking rests in proper preparation, rehearsal, keeping some key delivery tips in mind, and, most important, adjusting the movie that runs through our heads that keeps trying to tell us over and over just how terrible the experience is going to be. Nothing can be further from the truth; we just have to make the shift internally. Simply put, for most people who fear public speaking, the resolution rests in their own minds. It is within their power to change.

Perhaps you haven’t thought about it much, but you are guided and guarded by the pictures and movies that run in your head. These mental images that race through our heads constantly can be the source of our success or discomfort. Think about it. Perhaps you are afraid of flying or afraid of heights or have a fear of dogs. All these fears have one thing in common with public speaking: they live only in our minds. If you fear making a public presentation, it is likely because you see yourself over and over again failing in that presentation. Remember, this fear is only in your mind, but those internal images trigger the discomfort and nerves that truly block our effectiveness.

Do not underestimate the power of the unconscious. It is essential that you begin reducing and eliminating fear by changing the movies in your mind. By using the methods of information-processing adjustment, you can make permanent, positive changes in your life…

There are some simple steps you can take to trigger some positive change. Start by seeing (truly visualizing) yourself succeeding in your own mind. See the audience enjoying your presentation, and experience the positive feelings associated with doing an excellent job. It may take some time to create permanent shifts; after all, the negative movies in your head have been embedded for years. Burt start the process of changing now.

You can’t expect others to enjoy your presentation unless you believe yourself that it will be enjoyable and informative. Remember that others have come to hear what you have to say. If you are psyched to give the talk, and if you believe that what you have to say has value and interest to others, then you are on your way to making some positive change. In fact, doesn’t it make sense to you that n audience wants you to be interesting and effective? No one wants to be bored, so we begin the public speaking even with listeners who have the desire to enjoy themselves.”

Paul Lisnek, The Art of Lawyering