12 neurolinguistic coaching tips

Based on my previous work with TEDxChristchurch, I have identified these 12 key areas that have had the biggest contribution to the success of my speakers in preparation for their big ideas worth spreading on a global platform.

Try including these tips in your talk.

  1. Practice in the whole outfit you are going to wear when you finally give the talk – shoes and all. If you choose to buy a brand-new outfit, it will require becoming comfortable in it.
  2. Video your practice and pay attention to your feet. Be conscious of what you want them to be doing. Practice making conscious movements that help anchor your talk rather than random unconscious movements that distract your audience and yourself.
  3. Practice with the slide clicker/remote in your hand and use the slides to lock in your memory of content.
  4. Find a relaxing quiet place, lie down, close your eyes and imagine yourself giving your entire talk with all the gestures and pauses you have practised. 
  5. Have fun and laugh at your mistakes as you practice. This way, you will reduce the brain chemicals that create anxiety and anchor to a positive memory rather than a negative one. 
  6. Practice being larger, louder and more animated than real life. It helps to remember your talk because it is unusual – your brain remembers unusual. 
  7. Print your PowerPoint slides with notes. Put them on the wall above eye level in linear (left to right) reading fashion and make the font large enough to read from a few meters away. This will help lock into your visual memory.
  8. Time your talk. Seriously, time it and then allow for speaking a little faster than you would in your practice.
  9. If you find yourself not knowing what to do with your hands when you talk, then practice with a coin in your hand. If you find your hands perspire then find a nice beach stone, it will comfort you and draw moisture away from your fingers. 
  10. Commit at least your first minute and your last minute to memory. Knowing how you want to begin and end will help keep you comfortable, on track and prevent you from speaking around in circles. TEDx speakers memorise their entire talk; however, for anyone who is short on time, this tip is the next best thing.
  11. If you are going to use notes, either put them in a clear folder or print them on solid paper (220gsm). This reduces the shaking that can happen when you are holding them. If your hands perspire, this will also reduce the paper showing the wet marks and becoming soggy. 
  12. Reading from notes and engaging the audience is difficult and requires practice, you should be familiar enough with your talk that you only refer to your notes rather than read them. Use large font so you can easily see them at a glance.