Mental Game of Speaking: Are You a Mentally Tough Speaking Athlete?
Can you play at the top of your
game on demand? Mental toughness is the ability to thrive on stress
and to perform in the upper ranges of our potential more often.
The top athletes who possess mental toughness live this every day.
Professional speakers are the pro athletes of the business world.
The speakers who continually perform to their potential over a lifetime
know what it takes to build and maintain a strong mental game. Read
about ten powerful strategies that can propel you into top form
on the platform each time you speak.
The Mental Game of Speaking
Are You a Mentally Tough Speaking Athlete?
Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California
Can you play at the top of your game on demand?
How do you handle the rigors of the high stress professional speaking
game? Mental toughness is the ability to thrive on stress and to
perform in the upper ranges of our potential more often. The top
athletes who possess mental toughness live this every day. Professional
speakers are the pro athletes of the business world. The speakers
who continually perform to their potential over a lifetime know
what it takes to build and maintain a strong mental game.
Here are some tools and attitudes that you, as a mentally tough
speaking athlete, can hold about yourself, your audiences and the
speaking business. Reflect on them, discuss them with others and
write about them in your journal. Use them to build your mental
1. You Don't Hope For an Easy Life; You Strive to be a Strong
Person. Top athletes seek the rigors of competition and thrive
on seeing how they rise to the occasion. You seek challenging opportunities
and realize the speaking business is not for the faint of heart.
You continually seek assignments which help you grow personally
2. You Love the Craziness of the Pro Speaking Business. You
accept the often ambiguous and unpredictable nature of our business
and learn to adapt, be flexible and overcome the inevitable curves
thrown at you. You flow like a mentally tough athlete handling every
roadblock imaginable with poise and mastery.
3. You Have a Mistake Management System. Athletes make mistakes
every time they compete. They have a system to maintain their confidence
and refocus on the task at hand immediately. When you make an error,
you breathe, relax, smile or joke, recover and maintain poise and
balance. You practice "ad-libbed" humorous recovery phrases and
have backup plans to handle any problem contingencies in your programs.
4. You View "Tough Audiences" as Being Your Teachers. You
reframe them as partners in co-creating a valuable learning experience
you both share. The more difficult your audience, the greater the
victory in winning them over and the more you raise the bar on your
influencing skills. Any win is more meaningful when it is more difficult
5. You Use the Specificity of Training Principle. You rehearse
in your mind and in actuality, using all props, aids, and movements
key elements of your program exactly as they will be so there are
no surprises. Olympic stars believe that practice does not make
perfect...it makes permanent. Only perfect practice makes perfect.
6. You View "Speaking Slumps" as Opportunities For Growth.
You view these as a normal part of a speaker's development. You
examine the "slump" or plateau, learn from it and use it to go to
the next level. You are careful as to how you define a slump so
you don't create one when one isn't there.
7. You Use the Concept of Automaticity. You over-prepare
and know your material cold so your mind is free to do audience
calibration. You read the audience instead of being in your head
"remembering" what to do or say next. This allows you to be creatively
extemporaneous, and to be in relationship with your audience. You
are audience-centered and meet their needs at every moment.
8. You Use Negative Thinking and Visualization. You are a
positive thinker, yet you also use negativity thinking or mastery
visualization where you plan ahead for potential problem contingencies
and practice responses to unusual or difficult speaking circumstances.
You plan and hope for the best, but you open your eyes to potential
bumps in the road in advance.
9. You Take a Strategic Stance About Difficulties in the Business.
You look back to see how far you've come in the business and how
each challenging event toughens you mentally to be able to handle
higher levels of stress. You have perspective and can execute tactically
as you hold a long-range, wise, strategic viewpoint.
10. You Use Periodization to Recover From Stress. Our business
is exciting yet energy-draining. You create a periodization scheduling
system for allowing your body and mind to heal regularly and to
restore energy reserves so you can operate at peak more often. Athletes
know they can't train, compete and work continuously. They schedule
days off and mini-vacations each day for recovery.
Top athletes and speakers train with dedicated precision, know when
and how to recover, take the strategic long-term view and execute
to their optimum abilities. Use the mental game secrets of sports
stars and take your speaking game to the next level.
To learn more about how presentation coaching can help you become
a better, more confident speaker, visit Bill Cole, MS, MA, the Mental
Game Coach at www.mentalgamecoach.com/Services/PresentationCoaching.html.
Copyright © 2011-
Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority
on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and
CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps
organizations and professionals achieve more success in business,
life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com),
an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development,
professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He
is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author
and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league
pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For
a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments
visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.
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