Playing the Mental Game of Self-Coaching: For Anyone Who Presents

Top performing professional speakers regularly look for help from coaches, gurus, peers, books and other sources. But all the information in the universe won’t help if it’s not translated into useable form. This is where self-coaching takes center stage. Self-coaching is the ability to combine knowledge about yourself with outside information to make meaningful, positive changes in your life and to perform well when you need it most.

No one can teach you anything. Ultimately, only you can take information from a teacher or coach and transform it into your personal power. Savvy speakers take responsibility for their own learning and devise strategies and systems that put information into action.

Here are five mental game success secrets that peak performing speakers can use to improve their self-coaching skills.

1. Be Willing To Grow. If you are reading this article about self-coaching it means you want to grow as a human being. This desire is manifested by your seeking experiences that help you improve personally, as well as professionally. The self-coaching speaker realizes that to grow professionally, personal growth is a must.

2. Cultivate A Beginner’s Mind. The Zen tradition says, that to learn, we must be an empty vessel. If we know it all, we can’t be very open to new knowledge and experiences. The self-coaching speaker realize that an open, seeking attitude allows new experiences to come into our consciousness.

3. Benefit From Mistakes. Peak performers respect mistakes and use them to learn. Poor performers tie themselves up with negative emotion after every mistake. When we view any mistake as failure, our self-destructive emotions mask the valuable feedback around every mistake. The self-coaching speaker welcomes all feedback.

4. Develop High Self-Awareness. Self-awareness is not about what should be-it is about what is. The self-coaching speaker places a high priority on becoming self-aware and realizes that self-knowledge can be about the past or present. Self-awareness is the master skill.

5. Deconstruct Your Personal Experience. Peak performers use self-reflection to deconstruct their experiences. They know that the unexamined life fleets by out of control. Only by reviewing personal experience do we gain some degree of awareness over what we have done and over who we are. The self-coaching speaker embraces this process so new realities and realizations can be consciously created out of that.

Develop A Mental Game Plan. Take these three questions as a start in developing your self-coaching action plan this week.

a. What systems can you develop to increase self-awareness? Can you write in a journal? Speak your thoughts into a tape recorder?

b. Who can you partner with to assist you in your self-coaching quest?

c. How will you translate what you learn about yourself into immediately useful action?

Read This Or One Day The MD’s Presentation Could Flop Because Of You!

Musa’s gets an email Monday morning from Sarah – MD’s Personal Assistant. It’s about the much expected presentation on a new company strategy which the MD is scheduled to deliver next Monday. Sarah’s email ends with the words: “I am confident you will ensure this very important presentation goes without a hitch. Thanks in advance“.

Musa Dele Anicho is Training Manager in the eastern branch of a large corporate multinational. Apart from providing needs-based training for the site staff/managers, his job involves coordinating briefings/presentations etc that have a way of occurring at short notice – with the key actor often being a top man, for example in this case, Mr. Samuel Okocha, the Managing Director.

Musa grimaces as he reads the last line of Sarah’s email but seeing in it a tacit “warning” immediately sets out to make all necessary arrangements. It is the first time since becoming Training Manager that he would be personally responsible for preparations towards the MD’s presentation.

By the end of the week his boss had contacted him more than 10 times about preparations and each time Musa had told him all was set. Indeed, “as far as he could see” everything was set.

a. He had copied the PowerPoint Presentation to the Toshiba Satellite laptop supplied by the IT department and test run it over and over again – with speakers/projector.

b. He had double-checked the lighting in the Training room to be used and ensured the seating arrangement would not prevent people seeing the projector screen.

c. Refreshments had been booked and all other routine arrangements made. All was set!

BUT why then – after all this work by Musa, did the following unfortunate event have to occur? And how did Musa via quick thinking eventually save the day – and himself?

It’s 10.00 am Monday morning and Mr. Okocha(the MD) is on the 3rd slide of his presentation with all staff and Managers in the eastern branch listening with rapt attention to the high profile presentation with serious expressions on their faces.

The MD just finished giving an overview of the new strategy and then says “Let me now move to the most important part of my presentation which is: The breakdown of our new Corporate Strategy including the Action Plan for its implementation”.

He clicks on the mouse but nothing happens(Musa’s heart misses a beat). The MD clicks again, this time twice, thrice..yet still nothing happens – A frown now appears on his forehead(Musa on his part is already beginning to sweat even though the room is fully airconditioned).

The MD grunts a bit inaudibly saying “Sorry I think there’s a problem” and looks around as if asking for some help. Musa’s boss, Mr. Lateef scowls deeply at Musa and motions with his eyes for him to do something!

Musa gets up, his mind racing, and walks with shaky legs towards the MD, who with characteristic calmness at this point casually carries on with his presentation using the printed paper version he had brought with him as a reference
(Lesson: Anytime you have to give a PC presentation, endeavour to carry a printed copy (printed version) with you as a backup. Technology is reliable but not error-free: Anything can happen, so be prepared!)

He realises he must find a very quick solution that will enable the MD deliver this important information to the large audience in a way that ensures they all get a sound understanding of the subject. He forces himself to calm down and think (even as one teasing voice tells him “There goes your career down the drain -all that hard work from all those years gone!”).

Musa suddenly remembers that while preparing for the MD’s presentation, he had taken pains to save a backup copy of the PowerPoint Presentation on his PC desktop in his office. An idea occurs to him, and he bolts from the hall and up to his office in the Training block in seconds.

He tries to copy the file to a 1.44MB floppy disk, but gets an error message: “not enough disk space!” The file is 1.65MB! He curses under his breadth, checks his watch: now almost 2 minutes since the MD stopped using the PC.

Some more thinking leads him to recall that right-clicking on a file in Windows XP and highlighting the “Send To” shortcut menu item brings up a short cut menu item called “Compressed(zipped) folder”. This useful feature is an alternative for when one does not have utilities like Winzip, Winrar or other file compression software on their PCs. Typically compression of up to 40% is achievable with this Windows XP version(Why not try using it now and see what you get?).

He right clicks the Power Point file, and applies the command. The resulting compressed .zip file easily copies to the floppy. He sprints out of his office and back into the hall where everyone turns to look at him as re-enters. He avoids his boss’ glare and walks to the Laptop, heart pounding, barely hearing the MD’s voice.

With the PC projector lights still switched off, he copies the zipped file to the desktop and right clicks on it.

a. He then clicks on the “Extract All..” shortcut menu item to bring up a “Compressed (Zipped) files extraction Wizard” welcome screen.

b. He clicks “Next” twice and watches as the wizard copies a folder containing the powerpoint file to the desktop.

c. He clicks “finish” and the folder (by default setting) automatically opens to reveal the uncompressed PowerPoint Presentation.

He quickly launches the presentation and clicks through slides 1 to 3, then holding his breath clicks to continue. There is a short delay, then the 4th slide appears! He clicks again, and the 5th appears, till all 10 slides are complete.

Musa looks up at his boss whose piercing gaze he has felt on him all the while and nods to indicate all is well. He puts on the Projector lights to reveal the 4th slide at which the MD turns and says “Ah, looks like we can continue!”. The presentation continues smoothly to the end. Musa looks at his watch: It had taken 3 minutes!

After the presentation, some of Musa’s colleagues asked him what happened. He had no answer for them as he had checked the bad copy again and again and could simply not explain what had caused it to go bad or “corrupt” at the transition to slide 3. It could have been the power glitch during the test run he did – but he could not be certain.

He did tell them two things however:

a. First was that keeping a back up copy of the file on his PC(and close to the presentation venue) made it possible for him to replace the bad one – in time.

b. Secondly, knowing about the Windows XP file compression utility enabled him get around the twin problems of the file being too large to fit on a disk + his not having WinZip installed on his PC.

One could argue that he could have used a Flash pen, but what if he did not own one, or could not find anyone who did or even worse(and quite possible), what if the flash pen went bad or missing at that point when he needed it? Things like this have a way of happening, so one is better off considering all possibilites and preparing for them.

The most important message here is that you need to take time to acquire new/relevant knowledge and skills to enable you become more productive and efficient on your job. The little things you can learn about technology available in your office to get more done in less time, will set you apart from the crowd and make you look good more often. The quote below, in our opinion summarises it well:

“The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write. They will be those who cannot learn, un-learn and re-learn” – Alain Tofle

Psychology Behind Winning Negotiations

What’s your mental mindset when you enter into a negotiation? Are you fraught with apprehension, imagining the gloom and doom that awaits you? If so, you’ve placed yourself at a psychological disadvantage before you really get down to negotiating. From a psychological perspective, that makes you ripe for the proverbial picking.

Before entering into a negotiation you should prepare sufficiently to ward off such hostile attacks on your mental psyche. If you’re unprepared, your apprehension will become enhanced.
The following is a partial system check list that will give you insight to prevent such apprehension from attacking your psychological aptitude before and during your negotiations.

• Psychology Mindset

o Know who you’re negotiating with (i.e. the source of motivation that’s brought the other negotiator to the negotiation table and who’s not at the negotiation table that has influence on the negotiation)

o Separate the verbiage from the person (Don’t be drawn into discourse simply because you don’t like the other negotiator or how he projects his offers and counteroffers. Instead, think about the psychological mindset he possesses that leads him to depict his sentiments in the manner he does.)

o Maintain and project a winner’s attitude throughout the negotiation; that which the mind focuses on expands.

o When at a potential impasse, observe the situation from different points of view; you never lose in a situation until you give up and accept defeat.

o Understand that you won’t get everything you seek from every negotiation. Rather than enter into a bad agreement, set markers that will signal your exit from a negotiation. If you engage too long, you run the risk of accepting a deal that’s not to your benefit.

• Shape The Negotiation

o During your negotiation’s planning phase, determine how you can position your perspective (value proposition) such that the other negotiator accepts it as being beneficial to her.

o Prior to entering into the ‘official’ negotiation, thoroughly explore how you might address situations that may arise.

o Consider how and when you can use leverage, and the form in which it may appear, to influence the other negotiator.

o Structure your offers and counteroffers so that they flow in the direction you’ve set for the outcome of the negotiation.

o Position yourself properly before the negotiation (i.e. get write-ups in news articles; heighten your perceive expertise via social media, etc.)

o Use empirical data to improve your negotiation position.

• Perception Versus Reality

o Negotiation Postmortem – Always assess your negotiation outcomes compared to what you thought would occur during the negotiation. Make notes pertaining to how you addressed situations. By doing so, you’ll sharpen your perception and glean insight as to how you can enhance the outcome of future negotiations.

You won’t come out ahead in every negotiation. When the perception of defeat engulfs you, don’t become bitter. Don’t let the perception of defeat prevent you from becoming a better negotiator. Learn from your frustrations. In so doing, you’ll maintain the mental psychological mindset that will allow your negotiation skills to grow… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!