10 Feb

Public Speaking and the Mind-Body Connection

Public Speaking
There is a fascinating article “Who Are You? A Primer on Reading People” in the February 2011 issue of Psychology Today. Columbia University psychologist Dana Carney writes about a phenomenon called “power posing.” She says that using open postures – with arms akimbo and feet apart – doesn’t just influence observers but it also creates internal hormonal shifts that can actually improve a person’s confidence and performance.

Oftentimes it’s not just the content you bring to the table but the manner in which you communicate it that counts. But the higher you climb in the corporate hierarchy the greater the stakes are whenever you communicate. Instead of being poised and graceful it can be an awkward, stressful experience.
I remember in my own career how I prepared for leading the Executive Committee through their storewide visits – which also included my presentation of the store’s sales and revenue performance and a report on the dozens of employees who worked under my management.

My personal method of preparation included a mental visualization of how the tour would go. I’d picture every detail –including each physical gesture I’d make to emphasize points or highlight parts of my presentation. In the theatre of my mind I saw myself gracefully handling even the most potentially grueling and intense visits.

I pictured myself standing in the conference room presenting my “State of the Store” address with open body language. I’d imagine the expressions on their faces and how I’d react, improvise, and extemporaneously adjust my speech to keep them engaged and enthralled. Meanwhile I eloquently and gracefully countered any arguments and answered even the toughest questions.

Performing these types of mental preparation exercises helped me to overcome challenges and always think on my feet – in order to land on my feet and persuasively influence my audience. Have you ever utilized an effective visualization or body language method to influence others? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Sarah Hathorn is a leadership development mentor, executive presence coach, image and branding consultant, public speaker & author. She is the founding CEO of her own successful company, Illustra Consulting, and the creator of the proprietary Predictable Promotion System™.

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Copyright © 2011, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS

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Sarah Hathorn
Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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