Memory and Centering
“If only I could remember my words then I would be composed” is a complaint that many of us could identify with.
My friend and mentor, Robin Prior, has suggested that the following is a more constructive approach “If only I could be more composed then I would remember my words.”
Have you had the experience of struggling to convey your thoughts on a subject that you know thoroughly? This could range from a total blanking of your mind to finding that you are simply not articulating your thoughts with the accustomed ease.
Adrenaline, the fight/flight hormone, tends to dampen our usual thinking and memory processes. Its job, after all, is to drive us to take physical action. Have you noticed how fast you can move when a speeding car is accelerating toward you? Logical, serial thinking is too slow in this context. It could, literally, be the death of you.
So the most important factor is to moderate your adrenaline flow and turns fear into a buzz, into a pleasant excitement. How? Please see the previous posts, Confidence Tricks 1 – 4.
You do, of course, need to practise what you want to say. It’s important to remember that memory isn’t just psychological – it’s physiological also. So, if you are going to be addressing an audience of 200 it won’t help you if you practice your speech slumped in an easy chair with your feet up in the mantelpiece! At the very least you’ll need to practice your speech whilst standing upright. Preferably standing upright centred, with your weight nicely distributed and a good wide sense of space.
It’s nice, but not essential, if you can practice in the actual venue. If you can’t get into the venue you can always visualise, pretend, that you are practising in it.*
In summary – you link your words and thoughts with a balanced and centred physiology. You link your words and thoughts with the appropriate presentation environment – either physically or in your imagination.
This simple approach can really quieten down your cognitive processes and clear your mind for action. Not only will you be able to articulate your thoughts fluidly you may also find that you are thinking more creatively. You might… surprise yourself… and find that… you know more… than you even suspected… you knew.
* I’ll say more about visualisation and mental rehearsal in a future post.