Its no secret that one common trait found in great athletes is the ability to visualize their success. Visualization is a proven psychological action that helps you to succeed. Visualization actually increases the cognitive dissonance in your brain, which forces your brain to find a solution to make the success happen. You can achieve success in the art of public speaking by visualizing success.

Visualizing success can often be more basically interpreted as think happy thoughts. Think about success. Think about what success looks like. Visualize the crowd laughing at your jokes, and nodding in approval at your observations. Visualize a line of people waiting to congratulate you, and visualize your boss approaching you with a smile and job well done.

Our brains have a very difficult time in knowing the difference between the imagined and the true. No one proved this better than Alan Richardson, and psychologist from Australia. He arranged three groups of people, with the goal for each of improving their free throw shooting in basketball. The first group was able to practice twenty minutes each day. The second group was to visualize their success throwing free throws, but not actually practice. The third group was told to do neither. At the end of the test period, the group that visualized but didn’t practice performed almost as well as the group that practiced.

Make no mistake; this is not a case for not practicing. Practicing your public speaking is essential to succeeding in the art of public speaking. Rather, though, visualization is a successful tactic to be implemented in addition to practice. Here are a few practical tips to get you started on visualizing your success:

1. Know the Benefits
What does success actually look to you? In the realm of public speaking, it helps to define this? Is it a roaring round of applause? Is it your boss congratulating you? Is it a packed house? You must identify what the definition of success is before you can visualize it. Take the time to consider what success truly looks like for you.

2. Always think positively
Visualization is all about thinking about positively. As it pertains to your upcoming public speech, keep the conversation in your head focused on positive thoughts. This will help you to deal with stress as it arises, and will reduce the affects of stress on your ability to prepare and deliver.

3. Don’t focus on failure
And, more importantly, don’t focus on failure. You can’t allow yourself to consider what failure looks like. Negative visualization can do just as much harm as positive visualization can do good. Its easy to let feelings of uneasiness, uncertainty, and nervousness creep into our minds at first, which can turn into fear, anxiety, and failure. Stay focused on the positive, and never consider the negative.

Its often been said that public speaking is 90% mental. While most spend a lot of time researching their topic, developing their presentation, and writing their speech, most spend hardly any time mentally preparing. Take the time to prepare your mind for the task at hand. Define for yourself what success is, and take the time to visualize yourself succeeding. Positive and consistent visualization can be instrumental in helping you to accelerate your public speaking skills.

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