According to the Lamalle Report on Top Executives of the 1990s, one of the most important factors in determining financial success by those earning over $250,000 is being enthusiastic and having a positive attitude (46%). Apparently, successful people never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
Why does having a positive attitude matter so much? Research solidly indicates that expectations influence behavior meaning if you expect to succeed, it is likely that you will and if you expect to fail, you are more likely to be unsuccessful. Expectations create outcomes because we work toward the outcome we expect, even if it is failure. Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or think you can't--you are right."
Over the years, I have worked with hundreds of presenters who had a negative script running through their head before each presentation. Their self-talk sounded something like this, "I should have prepared more. I wanted to do so much more but I ran out of time. I'm not a very good presenter. I don't think this is going to go very well. If I had a few more days, I could do much better." And so on and so on.
This constant mental berating of oneself is very dangerous. Not only does it increase your anxiety about presenting, it helps shape the outcome of failure. We believe we won't do well and so we manufacture that failure to confirm what we already know to be true.
How incredibly self-defeating is that?
The goal of your presentation preparation is to do EVERYTHING necessary to be prepared for your presentation and then change that negative self-talk into a more positive dialogue that increases self-esteem, reduces anxiety, and sets up the expectation of success. Before a presentation, you should be telling yourself, "I am ready. I've done everything I could to prepare. I know my stuff. I am going to do very well." This will enable you to think positively about your presentation and carry that positive attitude into your actual presentation.
What amazes me is how much more difficult it is to be kind to ourselves and believe in our success than it is to demean and berate ourselves and expect to fail.
The things we say to ourselves undoubtedly influence our feelings and our attitudes. Instead of telling yourself that you aren't ready or that you wanted to be more prepared, why not try adjusting your attitude to the positive side of life-"I am ready and I am going to give a good presentation." Then watch as your positive outlook creates a positive outcome!
For much more about this and other Presentation Secrets, check out the book "15 Presentation Secrets: How to WOW Even the Toughest Audience," by Debbie Bailey available at trainer2go.com/ebooks.html.