Do you get a thrill of delight when you look at a great masterpiece? A Constable, a Canaletto, Pablo Picasso, Monet? How do they make you feel or how do they inspire your senses?Canaletto

Why shouldn’t our talks and speeches aspire to be something just as beautiful.

I find it really helpful to visualise my talk before I start practising it verbally.  I don’t mean literally visualising what is going to come out my mouth more painting my words into a landscape picture in my imagination of how I wish it to look, feel and inspire.

The landscapes can differ in tone. Some are sunlit when I want the talk to be hopeful, some are dark and industrial when depression needs to be explained, some are more fantastical when I want to inspire intangible reactions. With all I take time to ‘paint’, stand back and look at the effect and then approach the canvas again to add more paint, highlight something, smudge an area into softer shades.

The image of rolling verdant hills becomes a blanket upon which I can lay the structure of my talk. A river of words glistening with their meaning flows through the hills. Ideas spring upwards reminding me of swaying fields of bamboo.  The goal of my talk is imagined as a distant, majestic snow capped mountain standing out proudly against Constablea backdrop of blue skies emanating power and longevity. Through all this imagery my mind’s eye swoops and flies taking in how it looks and making adjustments where it doesn’t quite balance or give the intended impression.

This visualisation makes it much easier for me to envisage my talk and it gives me a fantastic memory picture I can take with me to the booked venue and use as an aide memoir as I stand to speak.

Not everyone is comfortable with imagery or visualisation and if you are one of these people then that’s fine however don’t dismiss it completely.  Even when used a little (a sketch if you like rather than a grand masterpiece) it is a very useful tool.  Because you are leading your audience through your picture you will know where you are and where you are going. It is very difficult to lose your way so remembering the text of your talk becomes less important. It can help you do away with written notes.Lowry

I find it also engenders a feeling of peace to my body and mind which is always a bonus when tackling a talk.

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