There is so much that we can learn, both as coaches and speakers, from sports psychology. One of my all-time favourite books from this field is ‘The Champion’s Mind’ by Jim Afremow. It is packed with practical tips and strategies to help athletes ‘think, train and thrive’. And masses of these are useful for strengthening ourselves as speakers. Here are three:
- ‘To move forward, seek out things to love about your game and reasons to enjoy it.’
I endorse this wholeheartedly. Life is short. And learning a skillset like public speaking is a process. It matters to me as a coach that my clients can find enjoyment in the challenge. This will help drive and sustain their learning. It certainly has mine.
2. To find your zone – or ‘golden median’ – so you can perform at your best, you must learn to throttle up or throttle down to find the ideal intensity for each situation.’
He then shares strategies for each (e.g. an up-tempo or a relaxing song). With my clients I encourage them to be mindful of their energy levels before a talk, and we develop strategies for if they need to lift or settle their energy.
3. ‘Take time to pause and reflect on what was good and what worked. These highlights offer a hint of your total potential.’
So important! I get all of my clients to write down 3 things that they did well, after every talk. It is telling that they find it MUCH easier to tell me everything that they think they did wrong. Yes, it’s good to think constructively about improvements for next time, but it benefits us in multiple ways to reflect on what is working too.