About a month ago, I spent my Saturday at a wrestling meet. My 16-year-old son decided 3 weeks before to start a new sport. He learns fast—I am amazed by how quickly he grows when someone is trying their best to throw him to the mat and pin him! I find it fascinating how demanding work, the threat of physical pain, and his competitive spirit combine to allow him to pick up the sport so rapidly.
One of the early observations of this new sport that he made to me was about his energy. He said, “Dad, before I go out there to fight, I can’t hold still. My body is shaking!” He is right. I can see it in him. He has his energy up. The thing he must do is focus his energy, combine it with what he is learning, and then drive toward victory.
His adrenaline is flowing, and his heart is racing. While his more experienced teammates sit on folding chairs lined up along the side of the mat, silently preparing and readying themselves for their bouts, he paces back and forth behind them. He is boiling over with energy, enthusiasm, and youthful power. The coach’s job is to focus that energy by teaching him the actions and moves required for successful high school wrestling.
I have seen this before in others. The nervous energy of a student in my Executive Communication Master Class (ECMC), ready to go before the others in the class and deliver their rehearsed speech. They think of the faces of the audience, the bright lights in their eyes, and the unblinking stare of the video camera that will record their effort. For many, the first couple of exercises are a blur in their memories. They lose sense of time and space as their energy, nervous and uncontrolled, gets the better of them and their performance. The parallels with my son’s experience continue: his coach repeatedly told him to “slow down” during his first wrestling bouts. He tells me afterward that those early matches were a blur of action and effort, and that he knows he can do better once he has better control.
My job, as the ECMC student’s coach, is to teach the concepts and principles of effective dynamic speaking. Through this, I help to channel their energy into an Organized, Passionate, Engaging, and Natural (OPEN) presentation (from The Exceptional Presenter, by Timothy Koegel). With this guidance, when they step up to the podium they can capture and focus their energy into an effective speech, presentation, or training session. Just like my son’s visible energy as he readies himself for a match.
I see it also in a developing student while they anticipate the next opportunity to speak in front of the group and camera. As they gain confidence and learn speaking skills, as they internalize the dynamic speaking principles, and as they develop through disciplined practice, they better focus their energy on the task. Soon, instead of walking away frustrated, battered, and hurt, they turn the tables and walk away triumphant. Eventually, they learn to better their opponent (for speaking, this adversary may often be internal fear), and find victory in public speaking.
When you are heading into a speaking situation, be sure to focus your energy. Capture it, harness it, and use it as you apply the principles of dynamic public speaking.
Focus Your Energy, today’s CommLink. Look for more dynamic speaking and leadership tips, best practices, principles, and concepts from P H Tyson & Associates!