I know some speakers who are extraordinarily superstitious. So how important is ritual?
Ritual has its rightful place in the speaking business. Stepping onto stage requires courage, preparation and calm. So getting into the right mental and physical state becomes a ritual. Here are 6 of my rituals which I always use before I speak.
Choose The Right Outfit Just like a footballer has his lucky shirt, then a speaker takes great care in choosing the correct outfit. Be as precise as you can here and think about the type of impact you want to make. This is your chance to create and maintain your brand. For example, I will always wear a bright red shade of lipstick and have my hair flicked outwards at the ends. (Men – you do not need to do this.) Each part of your outfit and makeup says something about you, so part of your pre-speaking ritual should be carefully choosing each item and visualising the message this will give out.
Voice Warm Up Spend time warming up your voice! There are lots of audios and cd’s available for this including my own! This is one of the most important parts of my pre-speaking rituals. Take good care of your voice – it’s the most profitable instrument you possess as a speaker.
Speaker’s Warm Up This is different to a voice warm up because the voice warm up prepares me physically whilst the speaker’s warm up prepares me mentally. It doesn’t matter that I’ve spoken to thousands of people all around the world, I still get nervous before stepping on stage. When I use my speaker’s warm up – again I have my own version – it fires me up for the presentation and helps me get aligned with the needs of the audience, so it’s not just about me – it’s about them.
Get Into State Another way of ensuring the most powerful mindset is to use anchors. If you’re coached in NLP remember to fire your anchors before stepping on stage. Get into the masterful state you need to command your audience.
Stage Lay-Out Another of my rituals is ensuring the stage is laid-out exactly the way I want it – this means the exact position of the flowers, the placement of the flipcharts, the arrangement of products on the table etc. Each time I speak, it’s always the same.
Music Finally, what music do you use to introduce yourself on stage? Music is a great way to elicit audience emotion and fire up your own energy too.
As you can see, speaking on stage is not just a matter of stepping on and off. Being on stage is something special. Being on stage means the spotlight is on you. Therefore you must do everything you can to be prepared. Having rituals around stage-time help your preparation both physically and mentally. Make being on stage as special and as sacred as you can for you.
Think about what rituals you can create about going on stage. If you already have a ritual, spend some time to refine it so the stage becomes even more sacred to you – a place where miracles and transformation really can happen.
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