What is Your Speaker Self-Talk?
“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.”― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
There is one person in this world whose opinion is most important to your development as a speaker. That person is you!
In his famous audio program, The Strangest Secret, Earl Nightingale said it best: “You become what you think about most of the time.”
People who believe they will become doctors become doctors. People who believe they will become world-class swimming athletes achieve this goal. And speakers who believe they will become outstanding speakers will become outstanding speakers.
Do you believe you will become an outstanding speaker? If you genuinely believe this and align your life to achieve this goal, no force on earth can stop you.
What you tell yourself about yourself is the determining factor in becoming an outstanding speaker.
This article will explore three behaviors you can use to make sure you are thinking is synchronized to what you want to become.
Recognize Negative Speaker Self-Talk
Your subconscious mind will always believe negative thoughts about your speaking. This is because your subconscious mind cannot discern truth from falsehood. What your subconscious mind believes will be manifested in your conscious mind and actions.
The first step in overcoming negative speaker self-talk is to recognize it. The easiest way to recognize it is to think about how you talk to yourself. Everyone talks to themselves. If you hear speaker self-talk like the following, you can be sure it is negative speaker self-talk:
“I am not sure why I am trying to give this presentation. The audience won’t like it.”
“Boy, I can never be as great as that speaker.”
“I just don’t have the talent to be an outstanding speaker.”
Negative speaker self-talk is limiting. It sets the bar too low. It minimizes risk and maximizes mediocrity.
Nobody achieved greatness by “having one foot on the island and the other foot in the boat.” You will achieve nothing without risk.
Those that fail to try have already “lost the game.”
Your job is to keep positive speaking thoughts first and foremost in your mind. How can you do this?
Cultivate Positive Speaking Thoughts
Cultivating positive speaking thoughts is like any other habit. It takes practice and time.
Your mind hates a void of thought. If you are not thinking positive speaking thoughts, negative speaking thoughts will creep into your mind. This is just the way you, me, and everyone are built.
The rudder in the rear of a ship determines the ship’s direction. Brian Tracy calls this first “golden hour” the rudder of the day because it determines your direction for the day – positive or negative.
Positive speaking affirmations are a way to make this first hour of your day positive. They are like your silent self-talk only verbalized out loud.
Your positive speaker affirmations might be
“I am an outstanding speaker.”
“I give my audience what they want and need.”
“I always have a good time when I am speaking before an audience.”
See what I mean? Always speak well of yourself whether it concerns your speaking or any other aspect of your life. You will always believe your opinion of yourself more than anyone else’s opinion. So make it a favorable opinion.
So, you recognize your negative speaker self-talk and cultivate positive speaking thoughts. The next method to combat negative speaker self-talk sounds counterintuitive, but it works. Positive thoughts follow positive actions.
Positive Thoughts Follow Positive Actions
Most people know action follows thought. However, most people do not know positive thoughts follow positive actions.
I always try to invoke the “Act as if . . .” principle. I learned this principle by reading Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s famous books about the power of positive thinking.
This principle is easy to say but hard to implement at first. The first time you put it into action, you may think you are fooling yourself. However, what you are doing is healing yourself. Below is the “Act as if . . .” principle.
“Act as if . . .” Principle – Act as the person you want to become and, eventually, you will become that person. It is as simple as that.
Act as an outstanding speaker, and, eventually, you will become one.
Sometimes people think they are being phony by doing this. However, your speaking thoughts will become more positive as you keep practicing the “Act as if . . .” principle.
And when your speaking thoughts become more positive, you will gain the confidence to strive to be the best speaker you can be.
Here’s a little secret. You will never become the best speaker you can be because in using the “Act as if . . .” principle, the definition of the best speaker you can become is forever increasing.
Cervantes said, ‘The journey is better than the inn.” The more you strive to become the best speaker, you can be happier than achieving the goal. Believe it or not!
Recognizing your negative speaker self-talk, cultivating positive speaking thoughts, and using your positive actions to stimulate positive self-talk are all good ways to ensure your self-talk is aiding you in reaching your goals.
Remember, as Earl Nightingale said, “You become what you think about most of the time.”
Make sure you think about what you want to become and not what you don’t want to become!
Call to Action
Make a conscious effort in your presentation preparation and delivery to recognize when you have negative speaker self-talk
Recognize cultivating positive speaking thoughts is one of the best ways to reach your speaking goals
When negative speaker self-talk creeps into your mind, do positive speaking actions to combat this
“A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.”― James Allen, As a Man Thinketh
Frank DiBartolomeo is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. He was awarded Toastmasters International’s highest individual award, Distinguished Toastmaster because of his outstanding work in public speaking and leadership.
Frank formed DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI), LLC (www.speakleadandsucceed.com) in 2007. The mission of DCI is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence their colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence. Frank can be reached at email@example.com and (703) 509-4424.
Don’t miss Frank DiBartolomeo’s latest book!
“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”