On the eve of any big match Wayne Rooney always asks the club’s kit man what colour shirts, shorts and socks the team will wear the next day.
“I lie in bed the night before the game and visualise myself scoring goals or doing well... You're trying to put yourself in that moment and trying to prepare yourself, to have a 'memory' before the game.”
Knowing exactly what he will wear the next day helps him conjure up a richer, more detailed and authentic vision. “I don't know if you'd call it visualising or dreaming, but I've always done it, my whole life.”
And it's not just Wayne Rooney. Do you remember Johnny Wilkinsons funny pose he used to pull before any penalty he took?
Before every penalty kick, he used a visualisation routine to help him put the ball between the posts: “I visualise the ball travelling along that path and imagine the sensation of how the ball is going to feel when it hits my foot for the perfect strike.”
The visualisation techniques described above conditions his mind to think clearly about how he will react to certain pressures, situations and problems on the day.
You can consider it a ‘mental warm-up.’
So what has this got to do with making a speech?
You can use exactly the same techniques before any big speech. You can can prepare for everything from your best posture and body language, and how you will handle any feelings of anxiety, to the awkward questions that might be asked and how you will respond to them. By the time you walk in there, you will feel much more confident.
As part of my speech coaching program, I stress the importance of having a game plan for the wedding day. A big part of my preparation foray speech includes visualisation exercises. By the time my client gets up to give their speech. They have already mentally prepared for the sensation of standing in front of hundreds of people. This preparation slows the release of cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream and ensures a calm and confident speech.