By now, you've heard about Ryan Lochte's face off with Michael Phelps in the 400-meter medley. You've heard how he dominated the race to win the gold. But you may be wondering, "What does a sports rivalry have to do with my presentation skills?"
When you present, you are up against a competitor who's been on your tail for years. A competitor who can get inside your head and bring you down. You are competing against – YOU. Is it finally time to conquer your own demon?
Let's take a lesson from Lochte.
Ryan Lochte says he conquered his Phelps demon by visualizing the perfect race. You can conquer your presentation demon by visualizing your perfect presentation and applying three tips.
Here's what Lochte told NBC News that he visualized, prior to his win:
"You are at the Olympics, it’s pretty much your time to shine. Time to prove to the world who’s best. The starter says, 'Swimmers, step up'. I look over at Phelps and we have a little stare off. We’re just staring at each other like, 'Who wants it more?' And then the starter says 'Take your marks,' and boom, we take off."
"I head off into the water like a rocket. And I’m not looking back. I swim my own race. I don’t swim off anyone else. Going into the last turn, we both go underwater and we look at each other because we’re dead even. It’s a close race and I destroy everyone off the last wall."
"Going into the home stretch, I touch that wall and I know. I’m like, 'Yeah!' My muscles are bulging, I’m flexing, I’m going nuts. I get out. I have my whole family right there in the stands cheering for me. They have Lochte t-shirts and they’re all going nuts, all twenty or thirty of them. And to me, that is the best way I can put a race."
Whether you're anxious about presenting or a seasoned pro, here are three ways to apply Lochte's lesson:
Turns out, your toughest competitor isn't standing next to you. It's inside of you. If you will step out of your own shadow, you will be the presenter you want to be – and you'll create a must-see moment for any audience.