3 Things speakers can learn from ‘The Inner Game of Tennis’
3 THINGS SPEAKERS CAN LEARN FROM ‘THE INNER GAME OF TENNIS’ BY W. TIMOTHY GALLWEY
1) A big focus on ‘the art of relaxed concentration’ and how to achieve it. Given what tension can do to our bodies – including our breathing and our voice – this is an interesting and useful state for speakers to engage with, and to practice.
2) Introduces ‘visualisation’ in a straightforward way. How we can use images to communicate with ourselves, rather than just verbal instructions. The benefits have long been explored and noted in sports. (This book was first published in 1975). Visualisation can be a great tool for speakers too, as we are preparing for our talks.
3) Encourages us to see ‘nonjudgmentally’.
‘That is, to see what is happening rather than merely noticing how well or how badly it is happening.’
Easier said than done, I know! But I love the following quote as a way of explaining it. It is totally how I think as a coach.
‘Be clear about this: letting go of judgements does not mean ignoring errors. It simply means seeing events as they are and not adding to them.’
And why does this matter so much?
For tennis, the author notes, ‘Judgement results in tightness, and tightness interferes with the fluidity required for accurate and quick movement.’
‘Tightness’ doesn’t serve us as speakers, for sure. Which takes us back full circle to the ‘art of relaxed concentration’…
It really is a short, thought provoking book that you can apply to speaking.