Flow and Public Speaking
What’s flow… and how can you apply “flow” to speaking in public?
Well, let’s start with what it’s not.
Flow is not…
… worrying about the future and how you might fail when presenting a report.
… agonizing about the past and how you didn’t live up to your expectations.
… thinking about the present and how you are being judged for every word.
… and, flow is not about being tangled up and overcome by your anxiety.
Flow is a state that arises when “you” get out of the way.
It’s a state where you, as a whole person, stand calm and open and free of anxiety… so that the words, whether they are scripted or not, flow from your lips… directly into your listeners’ hearts.
Legendary psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, says that “during flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Now, can you imagine being in a state of flow speaking in public when…?
… It comes to giving an impromptu presentation at work?
… You are called on to give your opinion at a meeting?
… Or, you are at a networking event promoting your business?
Can you imagine experiencing deep enjoyment, boundless creativity, and total involvement with life in these moments?
How would your audience, or the one person you’re speaking to, react? How do you imagine they would respond to you?
Just take a moment to think about it.
Now, most people think flow is a state you get to after you learn a “technique” or a “method.”
Actually, this isn’t the best way to get into flow.
The Secret to Flow when Speaking in Public
To get to a state of flow, you have to let go of your preconceived ideas of what “public speaking” is about. Public speaking is not just about the words, memorizing lines, getting the script exactly right, and crafting “the perfect” speech.
Because when you memorize a speech, and you try to get it *exactly* right, here’s what happens:
When you’re actually giving the speech you memorized, every time you access the “filing cabinet” in your mind where your words are stored, you leave flow. You are no longer present with your audience, or with yourself. You’re in your mind.
Which means the secret to flow is to be open, present in the moment, and connected to yourself and your listeners.
Think of flow as a moving stream of water. And this stream of water is moving through you.
To apply this to speaking, a flow state would be a stream of words that moves through you… and every time you have to leave that stream, you leave flow.
So, again, you must be open, present in the moment, and connected to yourself and your listeners.
And, only when you can speak from your Essence, your authentic self, is it possible to let go of struggle and experience flow in the way I’m talking about.