"Whenever players in the top 10 face each other on court, it's not about skills. Winning or losing at this level is a mind game"- Andre Agassi, Australian Open 1998Many times, we've heard that mental attitude is a critical factor in almost every success story. Delivering a great presentation or landing a major deal is no different. Unfortunately, sometimes it is difficult to create a positive attitude in a situation that people find fearful. The fear speaks to us, creating an inner monologue that works against almost any speaker. "My voice is boring", or "I wish I was articulate as . . . "This is called negative self-talkBehavioural psychologists have developed a technique to combat this self-sabotage. It's called Cognitive Restructuring. Once you have mastered the practical techniques of this technique, the final step is to reprogram your mind for success. As successful sales people, you are already using this technique in your day-to-day business, either intuitively or at a conscious level. When convincing a client to use your product or service, it is unlikely that you'd say to yourself: "I don't really know my subject. I can't help these people. I haven't got the expertise of my competition. One day, they're going to catch me out."
Instead, you are confident and feel more relaxed because you know your product, you know your audience. You are prepared. This is the attitude that wins the mind game.
The greatest stumbling block most people have with self-talk, however, is generalisation. In terms of public speaking, this can be a little dangerous; for example, in an attempt to have a more positive attitude towards your presentation, you say to yourself: "I am a great presenter. Without a doubt, the audience will love me. I'm so excited and happy to be speaking today." The downside to this generalisation is that if something does go wrong, you may not understand why and you may lose your confidence in the future.
Next time you are in a situation and you are feeling some fear or self-doubt, just remember that you can win; you just need to reprogram your mind for success.
Anna Raine is a Senior consultant at Rogen International. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org