Ways thinking like an athlete will improve your communication skills


Simone Biles has been on the forefront of the Olympic headlines. After studying concerning the “twisties” or the “yips” in sports activities, I couldn’t imagine the comparability to communication skills. In sports activities, “An athlete might attempt to compensate for elevated physiological or cognitive stress or a insecurity by attempting to consciously management actions that have been beforehand computerized,” in keeping with LiveScience.

Communication shoppers I work with frequently report comparable experiences when they’re presenting.  Even seasoned audio system will take successful to their confidence after over-thinking a presentation after which feeling like they bombed.

We’re all specialists at talking to a point. We spend a whole lot of time on daily basis speaking with colleagues, household, and associates. However when the stress is on, we are able to overthink this very pure, practiced ability and find yourself with what feels like an out-of-body expertise.


For those who frequently expertise the talking “twisties,” or simply get caught off guard sometimes—notably now as we transfer again into speaking to individuals IRL once more—listed below are three methods to stop the “yips” once you yap.

Rehearse your behaviors

Sports activities psychologist Kelli Moran Miller recommends athletes replicate the worrying features of competitors throughout observe. This enables the stakes to look extra acquainted when it’s time to compete.

I take advantage of the same approach with my communication shoppers which I name: The First 10 Seconds.

The primary ten seconds of any presentation are important to establishing credibility.  Additionally it is normally probably the most nerve-wracking ten seconds of the presentation for the speaker.

For the train, I’ve every participant stroll to the rostrum, wait 5 seconds, then say their title, their title, and that they’re glad to be right here with all of us. Sounds simple sufficient, proper? It by no means is.


From the angle of the speaker, these 5 seconds of silence might be excruciatingly weak. From the angle of the viewers, these 5 seconds of silence command focus and exude confidence.

By rehearsing The First 10 Seconds earlier than your subsequent presentation, you possibly can practice your thoughts and physique to loosen up. Now these first moments can ease you into your presentation as an alternative of contributing to your nervousness.

Rehearse your ideas

Psychological imagery is an important device for athletes. They image their stance. They think about throwing the right pitch. They see the objective line. Through the use of these instruments of images, they higher put together for a efficiency or a contest when the stress is on. It might sound a bit implausible, however studies have proven that these types of visualizations are efficient. That is one other device you possibly can steal from athletes to use to public talking.

Previous to giving an vital presentation, spend time imagining the occasion as successful. Start just by visualizing strolling to the stage (or wherever you’ll be speaking). Think about the sensation of each toes on the ground and both the house in entrance of you. In your thoughts, see the room and the house. See your self being relaxed, genuine, and interesting. Talking in public is a ability—and whereas it could sound counterintuitive, you possibly can rehearse this in your thoughts to assist execute these skills when the stress is on, and your efficiency issues probably the most.

Rehearse your respiration

Diaphragmatic respiration is an absolute game-changer. Athletes use it to improve efficiency by reducing anxiety. You need to use it to turn out to be a greater communicator.  This “tummy respiration” will assist you to keep centered and within the second.

Diaphragmatic respiration is the pure solution to breathe. The simplest solution to remind your self how one can diaphragmatically breathe is to position your hand on your abdomen if you find yourself mendacity down. Discover your breath falls into your abdomen and fills it like a balloon. Keep in mind this sensation if you find yourself upright.

Begin working towards this now. If you end up listening to different individuals, discover how you might be respiration. If you end up talking discover how you might be respiration. By letting ‘tummy respiration’ turn out to be a behavior you will have one other device to scale back stress once you really feel the “twisties” or “yips” take maintain.

By growing these habits of rehearsing your conduct, ideas, and respiration you may have a greater likelihood at “sticking your touchdown” when you’re speaking and get the outcomes you need.