When searching for a method against my flight anxiety I came across a book written by Captain Tom Bunn: Soar: The Breakthrough Treatment for Fear of Flying. That was when I learned the logic behind visualising success in public speaking.
In flight videos – the underground community
In his book, Captain Tom Bunn describes a method, where you watch in-flight videos that end well.
Creation of an in-flight video goes like this: someone gets on a plane, lean their phone to the plane window facing the wing or the engines and start recording before takeoff. They record all the sights and sounds that happen during a regular flight. Then they stop recording after the plane has landed and stopped. As a final step, they upload it to Youtube.
I know what you think: “Who the hell would click on such a video?”. Well, according to Youtube, there are hundreds of thousands, in some cases, millions of viewers for these videos. Moreover, there is already a business built on it.
How do in flight videos help?
As an anxious flier, these videos help me to evoke the emotions that I go through while flying. Every noise, movement and disturbing sight evoke the feelings that I have while flying on a plane. The feeling that arises is anxiousness at first, but when watching the plane landing at the end of every video, I learn that even though there were disturbing events, everything went fine at the end . Then watching the videos over and over again, the level of anxiousness decreases, with this helping me to get calmer while on board an actual plane.
There is no difference to public speaking. However, I can’t show you videos from a presenter’s point of view (Although it might be something of interesting to create :)) What I can do is to help you imagine yourself as a speaker who nails their speech. I can help you visualising success. If you use this method you will take a step to also this experience.
Visualisation – Your in flight video
To prepare visualising success, I give you a text, that has a description of a speech from a presenter’s point of view. It has most senses and emotions involved that are experienced by a speaker from a situation alike.
The imaginative setup is a theater, where the audience showed up only to listen to your speech.
You will need either someone who reads out loud the text for you, or you record yourself beforehand and then playback and listen to your own voice. If you prefer to hear it from someone else, you may download today’s freebie, that is an audio file, where I read out loud this text. You may as well use that.
I usually use a relaxing music (Hans Zimmer – Light) as a background, while listening to the reading.
You will need 7-10 minutes time on your own, where no disturbance could occur. Find an environment that is not too warm or too cold. Sit down to a comfortable chair or lay on a bed or the floor.
The visualisation text reads as follows.
Close your eyes and imagine you are at a kind, peaceful place. It can be either a forest, or the fields, or at a lake or your living room in your favorite armchair.
Visualize your environment, imagine as the soft, fresh spring breeze is caressing your cheeks.
You get more and more relaxed. Your heart rate slows down. You arrive to complete calmness.
Take a deep breath, and slowly, calmly breathe out… another deep breath…breath out….breath in… and out.
Now imagine that you are ready for giving a speech. You know exactly what you are going to say, you have rehearsed it a million times and you can’t wait to give away the message that is lying deeply inside your heart.
You enter the theater room full of people and sit down at the end of the front row, so you can easily get on stage when asked. You smell the distinctive scent of the theater room, you touch the velvet fabric cover of the seat. You hear the murmuring of the crowd as they wait for the beginning of the event. You sense your environment with complete calmness.
The lights slowly go dim above the audience and only one rounded shining spot remains on the stage. You start to smile. In a moment the audience will hear you and the message that you brought them.
The MC steps into the shining spot and looks around. The murmuring of the crowd fades. The entire room is muted. The MC introduces you. The crowd applauds. You stand up from your seat. With confident steps you walk to the side of the stage and smile as the MC is waiting for you on top of the stairs. You walk up the stairs onto the stage. He shakes your hand and you walk right into the shining spot at the middle of the stage.
Your heart starts to beat a bit faster.
You hear as the applause fades away. You can sense the curious staring of the audience and their intense interest. You feel the warmness of the lights of the reflectors as they illuminate your face.
You wait another moment…. and then …. you start your speech.
Your start immediately grabs the attention of the audience and everybody in the room is breathlessly waiting for your next sentence. You are in full command of the audience’s attention.
You are slowly getting relaxed. Your heart rate slows down. As you immerse into your speech, you walk towards the right side of your the stage. Guests, sitting close, now feel that you are talking exclusively to them. You step to the left and turn towards the other side of the audience. You take a few steps towards them, then you step back a little. You slow down your speech, you lower your tone and you transmit calmness with it. You stop at the end of the sentence. And you have a pause.
Then you shift gears. You start off with a higher momentum. By this time everybody is engaged with your speech. You approach the right side of the audience and as you step out of the beam of lights for a second, you can see the excited expressions on the faces, and their eyes wide open, listening to you talking.
Your nervousness is completely replaced by your passion for your topic. You are approaching the climax of your speech with full momentum… and here you stop and have a pause… and at this moment the room is so silent that you could even hear a needle hitting the floor. And then you proceed to the catharsis. You conclude your speech with repeating the moral of your message.
When the last sentence is said, you stop… and after a moment of silence a storm of excited, incredible applause and cheer bombs the room. People are applauding you in a standing ovation. You are just standing there with a happy smile on your face. For a few moments, you take in the cheering of the crowd and then you turn to the side where you see the MC stepping onto the stage with a smile on his face. You walk to him while the audience can’t stop cheering. You shake his hand and with the satisfied smile you walk away from the stage and take your seat.
You know exactly that a few minutes later tons of businesscards are going to be handed to you and later lots of thanking emails will be sent to you. And after the event people will be waiting for you to shake your hand.
At the end of the day you will acknowledge with the warm feeling of gratitude that… this was just the speech you wanted to give.
Now slowly breathe in… Breathe out… Breathe in… Breathe out… Breathe in… Breathe out.
You may open your eyes.
May your next speech give you such an experience.
Get the Visualisation audio
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Subscribe to get the visualisation audio freebie with the voice of Atis Szabó and enjoy giving your perfect speech.