Just as I am writing this I have come out of a session with a 40-year-old professional designer, who has been very successful but did not see themselves as any good at what they did for a living. Their self-image was poor and they kept waiting for people to wake up and realise they are not good as a designer, even though the evidence of getting paid for many years said they were good.
Do you know what your self-image is like?
I am going to mention something I tell people about confidence. Confidence is comprised of two words. The first word is ‘con’, meaning ‘with’ from the Latin and the second word is ‘fidence’, meaning ‘faith’ from the Latin. Together they mean ‘going forward with faith’.
How do you see yourself?
How do you hear yourself?
How do you feel about yourself?
These are not questions we normally we ask of ourselves. But they are the fundamentals of your self-image. They are what determine your level of confidence when you are engaged in public speaking or making a presentation.
A good self-image allows you to present well because you are feeling good about yourself. Feeling good about yourself helps you to be relaxed and open to your audience.
If you were to feel bad about yourself, your level of confidence in your presentation would be very low and it would show through in your performance. Feeling bad about yourself causes you to become defensive, afraid, closed down and not open to your audience.
The body is a biochemical machine and you can direct its performance by the way you see, hear and feel about yourself.
Visual self-image (Vi)
This is the picture of you that you carry around in your head. It is like part of the programming code in your biological computer: your brain. The computer can only perform a task when it has been programmed to do so, otherwise it is just a blank machine and will sit on the desktop and do nothing. If it is programmed incorrectly, it will either not work or perform a task incorrectly.
If you want to be a good public speaker or presenter, that is the image you need to install inside your mind. Your internal visual image (Vi):
• Raise your chin so your eyeline inside your head is above the midline.
• Look up inside your head with your eyes closed.
• See yourself presenting well.
• You are relaxed, in control and confident.
• You are aware of and using your body language.
• You are using your face language.
• You are interacting with your audience.
• You have dressed appropriately for the presentation and are looking good.
• You are on top of your schedule and running to time.
• You have your set of notes and are working through your presentation, item by item.
• You really look as if you know what you are doing and everything is going well.
If you get a negative image coming into your head, immediately push it out of the way with the good Vi of you presenting well. As you continue to do this again and again you will find the good Vi increases because your new resident Vi of you becomes someone presenting well.
It becomes your automatic good Vi self-image around public presentations.
Auditory Self-image (Ai)
We all have internal chatter about ourselves and what is going on in our lives. Even people who are mainly V have a level of Ai, whether they are aware of it consciously or not. We discuss and debate issues inside our mind or talk to ourselves about our own performance in many different circumstances. We give ourselves marks out of 10 about how well we did in certain circumstances. Internal chatter is a natural part of your internal imaginary processes.
Exercise: Examine your Ai around public presentations
1. Take a small pad and pen or use a small electronic device that you can access constantly.
2. Throughout the day when you think about yourself doing public speaking or giving a presentation, write down what you are saying to yourself inside your mind.
3. Take an hour and sit down and remember the Ai that was going through your mind some of the previous times you may have been giving a presentation. Be meticulous when you record the details and confine your writing to each particular time and how well or poorly it went.
4. Take another hour and remember any time that you presented or gave a speech and it went well. Note what you were saying to yourself about you during the times when you were presenting well.
5. If you have never given presentation or speech, sit down with your eyes closed, chin up and imagine you are giving a good presentation. Now imagine what you are saying to yourself inside your mind. Make notes.
6. Compare the four sets of notes.
What you are likely to find is that when you presented well or thought about presenting well, the Ai around your ability to present well was positive. When you presented poorly or thought about presenting poorly, your Ai around presenting would have been very negative, derogatory and demeaning.
Your brain and mind are wired to perform according to the quality of the voices you have inside your head about your abilities. Not only are these voices part of the foundations of your belief systems but also your basic fundamental performance programming.
To be a good presenter you need to add the good Ai voices around your abilities to your good internal visual images and your ability to present.
Install basic Ai positive self-affirmations around your ability to present. Use the three kinds of self-affirmations but when you are presenting you can stay using the present tense “I am”.
• I will be able to present well.
• I will learn good presenting skills which will help me very well.
• I will be confident when I present.
• I can be relaxed when I present and at any time.
• I can calm myself and have composure at any time I am presenting.
• I can be self-assured and composed when I present.
• I am knowledgeable about the subject I am presenting and have studied to have that knowledge.
• I am enjoying sharing that knowledge with the audience.
• I am calm and confident in my presentation.
You can install these basic, positive affirmations inside your unconscious mind during the accompanying auditory hypnotic recording with this module. You may also begin to say these self-affirmations to yourself inside your mind as you go throughout your day. The more you repeat them, the more automatic they become and pop into your mind during a presentation.
You may even consider using Self-Hypnosis to make up your own self-affirmations to place deep into your unconscious mind. Remember, self-affirmations should always be in the positive, constructive form and never about what you will not, should, should not or cannot do. Make them about what you will, can and are doing positively.
Internal feelings (Ki)
I use the term Brain Mathematics because there is a simple formula for helping you feel good about your presentation skills.
Vi positive + Ai positive = Ki positive
It is that simple. When you master the positive Vi and Ai, it leads you to the Ki good feelings about you as a presenter. If you have any Ki problems about presenting, check your Vi and Ai and I guarantee you there will be a fault, which you are learning to correct.
The mind is like a postbox. What you put into the postbox is exactly what you get out of it. If you post good Vi and Ai inside your mind about your ability to present, you will get good Ki out of the postbox because the formula of creating it is happening inside your mind. In fact it is your responsibility to post those good self-images inside your mind if you want to be a good presenter.
This of course depends on you having learnt the presentation skills I have taught you here. Being skilled up is just as important as how you feel.
Starting a presentation with good Ki
It is important to be able to recognise good feelings of excellence and get to know them, even before you begin a presentation. Begin the presentation as you mean to go on in a good state.
Exercise: Creating good Ki
1. Find a space where you will not be disturbed. Turn off your phone and be quiet.
2. Close your eyes and rest in a relaxed position with your limbs uncrossed.
3. Install the good Vi and Ai around you presenting.
4. Bring in the good Ki around you presenting.
5. Feel that good Ki and know it very well. Where in your body does it begin? Where does it spread to next? Note when your body is full of that good feeling.
6. Now associate that good feeling with being a good presenter with the phrase, “I am a good presenter.”
7. Every time you think about presenting and before you begin presenting, say that phrase to yourself inside your head. Get the Vi, Ai and bring in the good Ki.
8. Start that good feeling state before you begin to present.
Dr Tracie O’Keefe DCH, BHSc, ND, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapist. Counsellor, PACFA registered Mental Health Professional and Naturopath In Sydney. You can get help by booking an appointment with her at Australian Health & Education Centre.