Negative inner dialogue, or as we will call it during this ghoulish example, the Vampire Saboteur, can be one of the biggest barriers we face to giving an inspirational speech. We all have an internal dialogue that judges how we’re doing when we’re trying to speak in public. But what happens when it turns on us? When it tells us we’re no good? When it refuses to let us believe we can be inspiring?
Inner speak is often subconscious, leaving us unaware of what messages we’re telling ourselves. Before we even realize it, those fangs of self doubt close on our blood supply and latch on for dear life.
To present an inspirational speech, the way you view yourself as a speaker is extremely important. To even know that you have an inner vampire sucking the life and vitality out of you, is the first step. Think of the would-be-inspiring public speaker that has spent the last several days nervously thinking, “I know I’ll be boring, forget what to say. I just know they won’t like me.” Imagine how the speaker’s confidence will be affected. Negative self talk has infiltrated body language and the tone and pace of the speech. The vampire has taken over and the once inspirational speech has now crumbled into a lifeless, nervous presentation. The negative feedback from the audience will reinforce the Vampire Saboteur as he whispers, “This is why you’re afraid of public speaking… you’re just no good at it.” Unfortunately that is where we agree with the vampire and think to ourselves, “I knew I was no good at this inspirational speech giving malarky.”
This inner demon represents our biggest fears as public speakers. It’s the part of us that wants to stop, to go backwards, to remain hidden in our comfort zone. This vampire is the thought pattern that keeps us from realizing our full power as an inspirational speaker and is the arch nemesis of any inspirational speech. Knowledge is the first step to slaying this creature of the night.
So, think of your pencil (okay keyboard) as a stake. I invite you to conduct an interview with this vampire. Yes you may use a Transylvanian accent if necessary. Ask yourself:
- What does this vampire tell you about yourself and your relation to inspirational speech giving?
- What does the fanged saboteur say that you’re incapable of?
- What does this incarnation of fear tell you NOT to do with your speaking?
- What will this vampire say will happen if you… gasp… make a mistake while speaking?
By identifying this saboteur as a character, as we’ve done with the scary type halloweenish vampire, you can begin to see that you and this ghoulish night stalker are not the same person. Use your imagination and imagine him/her as Dracula or the vampire LeStat or even Twilight glittery types (if you must). It’s in this way we identify the saboteur as an identifiable barrier to any inspirational speech. Once identified, we can then begin to banish the fanged fiend and get on with being the inspirational speaker we know we can become.
So the vampire tells you if you mess up… you’ll “look idiotic” or “ruin everything” or “get fired” or “embarrass other people” or “lose out forever on the opportunity of a lifetime” or or or….. All of these thoughts are fear based, all of these thoughts are from that annoying bat-like creature with his fangs of fear in your neck.
The garlic, holy water, or sunlight to the saboteur vampire is the truth.
Visualizing yourself as being successful is the bane of this foe. The vampire will send you message after message to NOT visualize a successful inspirational speech. There are three ways you can stab this villain and begin to rid yourself of this ghoulish nightmare.
1. Use garlic… err… logic.
Anytime those messages come through ask yourself, “Can I be 100% sure this is true?” Unless and until you can be conclusively 100% sure that you’re not (whatever the vampire says you are) you begin to discredit the messages he/she sends.
2. Get a “stake” in your own head.
Or… replace the thoughts with more realistic ones that are positive. Substitute a negative thought “I can’t give an inspirational speech” with “I am passionate about my topic” or “I have great insights about this material”. Focus on the things that are in your control such as preparation and mental attitude. It’s only positive self talk if it is realistic. The audience reaction is not in your control so statements like “I will make them LIKE me.” isn’t necessarily a positive replacement. A more realistic positive reframing would be “I will LIKE myself and be happy with this outcome no matter what the outcome.”
3. Let the sunlight in and say goodbye to the vampire saboteur.
Having replacement thoughts causes the vampire to no longer get his/her fangs into you.
- Imagine this fiend shrinking to a tiny dot when the sun shines. As he/she shrinks, hear the voice getting smaller and quieter, until all you’re left with is calm silence.
- Think of yourself picking up the vampire in bat form and booting him out the window. Savor that feeling of being a vampire slayer.
- Make the vampire appear ridiculous (think Twilight as a reference. I mean whoever heard of a glittery vampire. Really.) The more ridiculous your saboteur looks, the more laughable his/her messages become.
The key to successfully slaying your saboteur is persistence, they’ve been stalking in your shadows for most of your life, so don’t panic if they keep coming back. They are VERY persistent and know exactly which veins are the juiciest. Each time you slay the saboteur they weaken, losing their grip on your psychological welfare. The more your reinforce realistic positive talk the less chance this “inner demon” has of wrecking your inspirational speech.
Channel that inner vampire slayer to convert your fear into inspirational speaking… but DO go easy on the garlic, for the audience’s sake!