The Power Speakers Ritual.
1. Create a mental state of super confidence conducive to successful speaking.
2. Relax mind and body for peak leadership performance.
3. Prepare vocal organs for optimal voice projection.
The Power Speakers Ritual is based on the following four self-improvement mental tools: body language, breath control, visualization and affirmations. These tools have been borrowed from psychology, management science and sports psychology to help you manage your mental and physical processes and successfully overcome internal performance obstacles. Assuming a confident posture engages the mind to perform accordingly. Breath control exercises help induce a relaxed state and control self-pacing. Archery is a precision sport which requires a lot of self control. The Archer visualization helps focus speakers and bypass subconscious public speaking mental blocks. The affirmations help warm up the vocal chords and remind speakers to project from their diaphragm. Participation in the ritual is voluntary and you are encouraged to create your own success ritual as well.
The Ritual: (2 minutes 30 seconds )
Posture: (15 seconds)
We start with the Power Pose. We stand up and take some room to take an assertive stance. Being assertive does not mean being aggressive. The pose should reflect your self confidence. We stand with legs slightly apart, hands held to our sides in a confident posture.
Breathing: (15 seconds)
We place our dominant hand in the center of your rib cage. We locate our diaphragms. We will take 6 deep breaths to fill our lungs with air and our blood with oxygen. Deep breathing helps in relaxing our minds and clearing out stressful thoughts. Deep breathing improves vocal projection as well by focusing on our diaphragm not our throats.
Visualization: The archer. (1 minute 45 seconds)
Imagine being in a beautiful open field. The freshly cut grass smells wonderful and there’s a lot of excitement in the air. You feel the sun rays gently warming your skin. It’s an incredibly beautiful day.
(1) Take a deep breath.(Pause)
You are seated with your fellow toastmasters who are arranged in two groups on both sides of a long path. The path leads to a lectern at the end closest to you and a target at the end in the distance. You are all wearing bows, and quivers filled with arrows.
(2) Take a deep breath.(Pause)
It is your turn. You stand up and walk up confidently to the lectern. Your fellow toastmasters are supportive and positive. You remove the bow from your back, select the correct arrow then place it against the bow. You fix your gaze on the target in the distance. The target center is yellow, encircled by green and finally red on the outside circle.
(3) Take a deep breath.(Pause)
You were born to do this. You are completely relaxed. You pull on the bowstring. You quickly glance at yourself from a mirror next to the lectern and are satisfied with your excellent form. You effortlessly release the arrow and it cuts through the air elegantly until it reaches the center of the target.
(4) Take a deep breath.(Pause)
Your fellow toastmasters celebrate your accomplishment and congratulate you on your success. You place the bow and quiver on your back and return to your seat. You radiate positive energy as you prepare to support the next toastmaster.
(5) Take a deep breath.(Pause)
You then realize that the Bow is your Self-Confidence. The Arrow is your Speech and the Target is your Objective. You smile with a sense of accomplishment. Hold on to that feeling for a second.
(6) Take a deep breath.(Pause)
Affirmation: 15 seconds
Please repeat after me: I am a Power Speaker. | When called upon, | I will step forward, | Then, I will perform, | My assigned duties, | With Power and Confidence. | I speak with Power!
Let’s have a powerful meeting!
For further reading and research:
1- Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges.
Amy Cuddy, PhD (How body language affects confidence.)
2- The Mental Athlete
Kay Porter, PhD (How relaxation and visualization affect peak performance.)