A 10 minute exercise to … take the FEAR out of that interview or presentation.
There aren’t that many among us who relish the prospect of an interview or presentation. Lets face it, unless you are a trained actor (and even if you are) the prospect of standing up in front of prospective employers – or even to present to our co-workers – can be a daunting experience.
In fact in my work as a coach, I have met countless people – all extremely competent in their fields - who dread having to give a presentation (or similar) – experiencing stage fright and sleepless nights long before the day. And worse, sometimes leading to doubting their ability to do their job!
In the teaching profession – which I worked in for 20 years – the culpable fear felt by fantastic professionals, who were used to standing up and ‘performing’ repeatedly in front of hundreds maybe thousands of young people, was hugely apparent... the minute the dreaded OFSTED were due to visit!
Now nothing can take away the need to prepare as well as possible the physical content of your presentation… which can often be more effectively put together the less time you have! Have you however thought about putting time into preparing arguably the most vital thing of all: your state of mind?
Getting your mind into gear helps not only to allay those nerves, but will give you the self-belief you need to carry out the task confidently (and dare I say with enjoyment) which let's face it - will massively improve the chances of a successful outcome!
The exercise I often give my clients is a step-by-step visualisation called ‘At the Movies’. I can honestly say it has already helped countless people get jobs and give presentations across many professions.
It takes 10 minutes tops – but repeated regularly will help ‘ingrain’ this very positive experience into your mind. After all the more you can teach your brain to believe something is possible – the more likely it is to happen.
10 minute exercise – ‘At the Movies’
1) Your private cinema. Find a quiet space and close your eyes. Imagine you are sitting in your own private cinema. Think about what this looks and feels like – the colour of the seats, lighting, atmosphere, what you are served to drink... Make this as close to your own tastes as possible!
2) The movie begins! It is the film of the successful presentation/interview experience you are about to have. Imagine the title coming up on the screen accompanied to a soundtrack (decide what you want these to be).
3) You’re on screen! You are now going to imagine the experience from start to finish, in as much detail as possible – watching yourself on the screen. It’s very important that everything goes as well as possible and fits with what you really want to happen – from the light in the room, to what you’re wearing, to the presentation itself, to the responses of the people there. The scene ends with a hugely positive response from your audience and the image of you obviously feeling very pleased with the outcome.
4) Playing the role. Next – rerun the scene from start to finish but this time you are fully associated. This means you are ‘inside’ the screen and experiencing the whole event through your mind’s eye. Really try to fully see and feel the experience from start to finish. Then at the end, as you start to have the feelings of success and elation, do the following:
5) Ingrain the experience by pressing your middle finger and thumb together. (This is called ‘anchoring’ and ensures that your brain will associate the presentation with the successful outcome that you’ve just had).
6) Distract yourself for around 30 seconds.
7) Repeat the exercise from Steps 4-6… as often as possible prior to the big day!
If you have never done this kind of thing before this exercise may seem a bit ‘out there’ – however it is a tried and tested method (many times over) of really helping to transform your mind-set and thoughts about your ability to quite literally ‘perform’.
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