What does Being Intentional mean?
The Encarta Dictionary defines intention as “something that you plan to do or the state of having a purpose in mind”. When you actually take the time to set an intention of how you are going to “be” when you’re making a presentation, your probability of achieving that goes up exponentially. You might already be a good speaker. Or maybe you’re just starting out. In either case, we know there are aspects of your speaking that you want to have more fun with or develop or expand. Everyone has places to grow and when you have a specific purpose in mind, you’re much more likely to get there.
An initial part of your intention might be to get really solid in your material so you know it backward and forward. That’s great. We highly recommend that you know your stuff—and that you have “good stuff to know”. That’s when you can be free to improvise in the present moment and make the most of it. So definitely include the clear flow of great content in your intention.
Other facets of your presentation
However, there are other very significant factors to include in your intentions. The actual content of your presentation has statistically far less impact than how you deliver it. You may have seen these numbers before: 55%, 38%, and 7%. For decades people in the speaking industry have referred to these percentages as body language, tone of voice, and words, respectively, in relation to the impact each part has in your overall presentation. While this is an over-simplification, the powerful combination of your body and voice cannot be denied (even if the 93% in these numbers above is exaggerated).
Much of the time we humans 'wing it'. When we have to speak we may do a bit or a lot of preparation (depending on our predisposition for such things), and most of us, a LOT of thinking about it. But, we usually focus the bulk of this preparation on the content part of what we’re presenting; not how we’re going to be as we’re presenting.
We believe that setting intentions about how you show up is absolutely critical to your ability to be a magnificent speaker. If the majority of the impact of your presentation is profoundly affected by your movement, your energy, your presence, your attitude, and your vocal dynamics but you’ve spent most of your time (if not all your time) just on content, can you see the flaw and limitation here? So, setting an intention of how you will be can change everything.
Henry Haslett’s quote, “He who has the greatest intention ‘wins’,” is a key part of this discussion. We’re not suggesting that you try to ‘win’ in the competitive sense of trumping or beating someone else. Rather, we’re saying that by establishing your intention you can purposefully set yourself up to be powerfully successful in whatever you’re doing and how you’re doing it. When you clearly articulate what you intend to do and how you intend to be, magic happens.
What can you control with your intentions?
We feel strongly that this concept of intention impacts every facet of your life from decision-making to conflict resolution to mediation to time management perspectives; and, of course, speaking and presenting. Since the principle of intention is to absolutely influence and control that which we have influence and control of, it is in your best interest to figure out what it is you actually do have influence and control over in your life. We believe that the only thing you actually have control over (and we use the word control loosely and gently here) is yourself.
How do you do that?
The best way we’ve discovered to master that principle is through a written intention. Feel free to contact us if you want to receive an electronic copy of our “Personal Intention Sheet”. This is one of the most powerful concrete tools available to you as a presenter. To set yourself up for delivering your presentation, speech, discussion, dialogue, sales pitch, invitation, marketing pieces, story-telling, talk with your child, etc. the one over-arching factor that will make all of those shine is having a clearly articulated written intention.
The instructions on this sheet are pretty clear. State what result you specifically desire—about yourself, things that you have “control” over. Visualize yourself being exactly how you want to be as you achieve that result. Spend a few minutes really feeling it and experiencing it as if it is already a reality. Acknowledge who will be touched/affected by this intention and how this intention you’re writing and steeping in will affect/integrate/benefit/fit with what they want. Then imagine you’ve finished your presentation. What are your next steps? What do you want to do? How do you want to be?
So here’s the key. Everything is stated in the present, from a positive perspective, and for the greatest good. Remember it’s how you want to be (not what you don’t want). And it’s stated as if it’s already a reality. Starting with “I am…” is a really powerful way into intentions.
Play with this tool. Experiment. Try things on for size. Write your intention sheet the night before your presentation. Then all your 80-100 trillion cells have a chance to align themselves with the possibilities you’re creating. Read your intention over more than once. Read it again when you’re finished your presentation. See what works for you and brings the best results. Keep in mind that you can ONLY write intentions about yourself (not about what the audience or any other person with think, feel, or do).
Support for writing out your intentions
And yes, we recommend that you actually do the old-fashioned thing and write out your intentions. Norman Doidge, Daniel Pink, and Bruce Lipton all talk about how our brains are wired and our connection to the physical act of writing—and how important it is. Add to that science, the clear distinction of an intention that serves your greatest good and you’ve got one of the most elegant, simple, and powerful solutions for unbridled success.
In The Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton, former medical school professor and research scientist, says, “The moment you change your perception is the moment you rewrite the chemistry of your body.” Since all your 80-100 trillion cells are programmed for homeostasis, balance, and congruence, can you imagine the impact on every cell in your body when, through the lens of “for your greatest good” you write how you will be in any given moment, in any given meeting, in any given objective, in any given goal, in any given outcome? In essence, by writing intentions you are writing your blueprint for success as a speaker.
In using the Personal Intention Sheet to prepare for your next talk or conversation just grab the sheet and fill it out. Focus on yourself (no one else). You and your thoughts and your behaviours and your attitude.
Examples for inspiration
Here are just a few examples of phrases that we have used:
- I am clear, present, powerful
- I am fully myself and I enjoy giving this presentation
- I am an invitation to greatness
- I am my most magnificent self at the front of the room and I present with ease
- I rock this presentation and stay fully present in each moment
- I see myself having fun at the front of the room and engaging brilliantly with the audience
- I knock this speech out of the park and say everything I need to say within the time limit
- I am authentically me and enjoy every moment of this opportunity that I get to share myself with this group/person
- I see myself being in complete flow with my content and delivering it with my whole being
- I hear myself having just the right words at the right time
- I feel alive, exhilarated, and confident
- As I allow myself to be more fully authentic and speak with confident, open-hearted clarity, my boss and colleagues (you can name them here) are invited deeper into their own authenticity and clarity
- Now that I’ve accomplished this, I relax and enjoy my evening
Write your intentions positively and purposefully. Write in the present tense and only write about what you will do. Avoid trying to control others’ behaviour—you can’t anyway! Your purpose is to take charge of your life and create responses rather than reactions.
So start writing intentions. We leave you with a Goethe piece to inspire you:
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
that moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no one could have dreamed would come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do...begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.