By Spence M. Finlayson
Giving a speech requires a lot of things to be coordinated very well in order to execute a good speech. One of the primary things is that of being mentally prepared. I can vividly recall having to conduct a seminar for a commercial bank in The Bahamas, after my nephew totaled my beloved red sports car.
But I had to get into a good mental space in order to make and effective and powerful presentation. If you are having some personal challenges, setbacks, or disappointments, it becomes that much harder to deliver a good speech. This is where you have to truly talk to yourself and really apply yourself.
I am reminded of a story I heard when I first became a motivational speaker some 32 years ago, from Claude Bristol’s “The Magic of Believing “. He said that a famous gentleman was invited to a party on a ship and they tried to get him drunk, so they plied him with plenty alcohol. He was drunk and he had to deliver an important speech so he went into the bathroom and looked into the mirror and started talking to himself repeatedly saying “Charlie they tried to get you drunk but you are not drunk. You are not drunk. You are not drunk. You are not drunk! He then began to sober up and was able to give his speech. Self-talk works.
For years I used this technique before I spoke, I got into the bathroom and looked into the mirror and said to myself “Spence , you are going to give a dynamic speech, Spence , you are going to give a powerful speech …..and as soon as I went onstage , I was ready…mentally prepared.
I have given some of my more powerful motivational speeches while under stress and duress. I recall a Baptist preacher telling me about how he was getting ready to preach at his 11 am church service and right before that, the bank called about the mortgage payments which was behind. He said he had to go on a deliver a powerful sermon for his congregation even though the situation weighed heavily on his mind.
Being mentally prepared for your speech requires you to think positively during the days leading up to your presentation. Try to see the good that hides in your situation. Like a pessimist sees obstacles in his opportunities, an optimist sees opportunities in is obstacles. Visualize yourself delivering a powerful speech from you step on the stage to the close of your speech with a round of applause and a standing ovation.
Henry Ford said, “if you say you can or can’t you are right both times.” Speak words of hope, optimism, courage into your life as you prepare to deliver your speech. One of the challenges for me from time to time as an international, is to have to fly into a city and have to give my speech a half hour or an hour later. Personally, I like to get acclimated with the venue and the setting before I speak, but sometimes it is not possible.
Always remember like Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage and we are merely actors and we have our entrances and exists.’ You are on stage and you now have to be the ultimate showman. My favorite musical group on the Planet is the Tempting Temptations from Motown. Otis Williams, the founder, said that when they first began in the late fifties, they decided to be different from other groups in that they would not just stand up and sing but they would incorporate intricate choreography into their routine with the guidance of Cholly Atkins.
Lead singer David Ruffin threw the microphone up in the air and caught it before it hit the ground while doing the split. It was showtime. And its showtime for you too as you stand and deliver your speech.