I won! I won the 2009 ProTrack speaking contest for the Virginia Chapter of the National Speaker’s Association (NSA)! I really wanted to win that contest because the first prize is a weekend workshop with a speaking icon, Glenna Salisbury. I also wanted to show fellow members of our NSA chapter that I can speak and that I have an important message.
How did I accomplish my goal? I knew that the best way to feel as confident as possible was to practice, practice, practice. So, I made a deal with myself about two weeks before the contest that I would say my 6 minute speech at least twice each day until the day of the contest. To make that task a bit more interesting, most days I recorded myself doing the speech on I-Movie on my MacBook. A bonus of using I-Movie was it helped me keep track of the length of the speech.
When I didn’t have time to sit in front of the computer, I did my speech in the car. With repetition I was able to work through the rough spots, places where I was having difficulty clearly stating my points. Another reason for the repetition was to develop mental muscle memory, so I’d know the speech so well that there would be little chance I’d freeze and forget where I was. A middle-aged brain can do that from time to time!
While I was practicing the speech I also pictured myself winning. I worked hard to keep that picture of success out in front of me at all times. The day of the competition I reminded myself that I wanted to win that weekend with Glenna. Sure, being number one would feel good, but I really wanted the prize!
When my name was called I felt proud of myself. Winning was an affirmation that I’m on the right path. It was also an affirmation that with appropriate preparation I really can get what I want.