What stories do you tell yourself, every moment of every day? Do those stories prepare you for success? Or do they doom you to failure?
Let’s say you’re delivering a big presentation or speech. Before you start, do you tell yourself how nervous you are, that you just want to get this over with, that you’d rather be dead than up on the stage
Or do you tell yourself that yes, you’re nervous but you are a fighter. You’ve faced and overcome many challenges before. And you will overcome this one because you know the audience will benefit from your message. Do you anticipate the applause and feel the effect it will have on you? Do you smile and step on stage believing the audience is a friend who wants you to succeed?
If you do the latter, congratulations. You are priming yourself for success.
Sadly, a lot of people sabotage their hard work with a negative narrative. Often we’re completely unaware that it’s happening. But somewhere in our subconscious we dwell on what could go wrong, how difficult our task will be, how unworthy we are.
Being aware of, and controlling, our inner narrative was the topic of a great workshop by Deri Latimer, national presidents of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS).
The workshop, entitled The Neuroscience of Engagement, is one of Deri’s specialties. It’s all about creating an environment where you engage and connect with your audience every time.
Creating that environment, says Deri, begins with the story we tell ourselves consciously or subconsciously. Before you step onto the stage, before you stand up in the boardroom, before you step into your boss’s office to ask for that raise, before you call your biggest client, what’s the story you tell yourself? That story will determine whether you succeed or fail. It’s that important.
There are countless opportunities for us to tell stories to achieve the outcomes we want, stories that reflect who we are, stories that bring out the best in us and our audiences. It all starts with the simple question ‘What’s my story?’ Is it filled with negativity, or is it positive.
The story you choose will affect your outcome. So choose well.
Halina St James takes the worry out of presentations with her Present Like a Pro video training course. It’s available now from the Podium Coaching online store, together with her popular TalkitOut: From Fears to Cheers e-book and workbook.