POWER PLAY #27
Feel Your Very Best Emotions
Have you ever given a presentation where absolutely everything went perfectly? You know what I’m talking about: you looked good, felt good, and even smelled good—and the right words flowed effortlessly out of your mouth. I bet you’ve had at least one of those. What about the opposite: have you ever given a presentation where nothing seemed to be working? Where the words seemed to stick in your throat, and it was hard for you to string your thoughts together? I bet you’ve had at least one of those, too.
If you’re capable of giving a flawless presentation, yet also capable of giving a presentation you’re much less proud of, what’s the difference between the two? Why aren’t you always on or always off? The difference resides not only in your thoughts (the subject of the previous few pages), but also your emotions.
As I’ve shared earlier, your feelings are a huge factor in your performance. But most presenters either are clueless about how they feel or think they’re incapable of changing how they feel.
Consider this: over the course of a day, you’ll have more than four hundred instances where your emotions will come into play. And depending upon which emotions you choose to acknowledge and nurture, the results you produce can range from poor to spectacular. Your emotions not only dictate your performance, but they are also passed on to your audience. Your audience actually experiences and feels what you are feeling. This is why I mentioned earlier that connection is such a powerful emotion for presenters. When you feel connected to your audience, they also
feel connected to you. The problem is that most people don’t wake up feeling connected to an audience they don’t even know yet. It’s much more likely that they wake up feeling nervous or wary about this unknown audience they will be speaking to later in the day.
However, in my mental preparation, I not only choose my optimal performance thoughts, I also choose my optimal performance emotions: I choose how I’m going to feel, the same way I choose what I’m going to wear. It’s that simple.
The key is understanding that you don’t have to feel anything less than perfect if you don’t want to. There have been plenty of times when I’ve woken up before a presentation feeling tired and not wanting to give the presentation, but I always change from that feeling into my optimal performance emotions before I get in front of an audience. Some examples of my optimal performance emotions are these:
¥ I am caring and connected!
¥ I am energized and excited!
¥ I am confident and committed!
¥ I am prepared and ready!
¥ I am playful and fun!
Your optimal performance emotions can be whatever you want them to be. The key is making sure that whatever you choose, they take you to your highest level of peak performance. One of the ways I figured out what works best for me was by paying attention to what emotions I felt whenever I was at my best giving a presentation. I captured these by writing them down and chose them as the emotions I get myself to feel every single time. I also learned a lot from presentations that haven’t gone well. After those, I asked myself what emotions I was feeling that hurt my performance, or what emotion was missing that didn’t allow me to be my best. Over the years, I’ve figured out my perfect “emotional recipe,” and that’s what I’m suggesting you do, too.
Notice a couple of things about the list above. First, each of them begins with I am. Those two words allow you to claim an emotion in a powerful way. Along with using your body language (which is addressed below), they can help you get in that emotional state immediately. I don’t just want to feel good when I start to speak; I want to feel great before I even get up to speak.
The second thing you’ll notice is an exclamation mark at the end of each optimal performance emotion. This reminds me to feel that emotion with every cell of my body! You can’t just say, “I am energized and excited.” You have to make sure you’re feeling energized and excited. So how do you do that? The most powerful way to make sure that you’re actually feeling your optimal performance emotions is to use your whole body to express the statement. Don’t just say it; change your posture, change your breathing, make a gesture, or create a facial expression to solidify the feeling in your mind and body. Every emotion has a physical component. For instance, what’s a telltale sign that someone is happy? A big smile! If you want to feel happy, but you’re not smiling, you’re going to have a hard time. I have figured out the perfect body language for every one of my optimal performance emotions. When I want to feel the emotion, I simply focus on
that emotion, and then I get in the proper body language position. This allows me to instantaneously access and feel that emotion. It allows me to feel emotions like confidence even when there is uncertainty all around me.
I challenge you to pick your top three optimal performance emotions and start practicing being able to create them instantaneously. The more you practice, the easier it gets. You’ll actually be forming new circuitry in your brain that will allow you to easily feel whatever emotion you want to feel