What speakers can learn from the Olympic Games
Watching the Olympics is exciting and inspiring. What a moment of pure joy for the medalists as they realise they’re the best in the world. What heartbreak for those who tried so hard and came so close.
As speakers, we can learn from all Olympic athletes. Here are some points to help you with your next presentation:
Practice, practice, practice
You don’t get to be an Olympian without years of hard work. Likewise you don’t become an amazing speaker overnight. It takes practice. Seek out as many opportunities to speak as you can. Thoroughly rehearse every aspect of each presentation – words, emphasis, body language, movements around the stage, slides (if you are using them). Tape your rehearsals and listen back critically, checking for logical flow and ease of comprehension.
The seconds before an Olympian competes are critical. They focus entirely on the competition. They visualise the outcome they desire. You need to do the same. Before you start speaking, focus on what you are going to say. Focus on the audience. Clear all unrelated matters from your mind. You’ve got a job to do. Focus on that completely.
Your personal best is good enough
Not everyone gets on the medal podium at the Olympics. But because an athlete didn’t win a medal doesn’t diminish their achievements. Many have broken their personal records. Set achievable goals – and watch your speaking performance improve.
So when you speak, aim for the gold as it applies to your skill and experience. Aim to get better with each speech or presentation. Forgive yourself for errors (but learn from them). Get over them. Keep practicing. Stay focused. You too can be a gold medal speaker.
Halina developed the TalkitOut™ Technique to help people improve their public speaking and presentation skills. She’s the author of TalkitOut™: Discover the Secrets of Powerful Presentations, which is available as an e-book in our Store.