You start to pitch your new creative idea, or address a room of your peers, sweat gushing out of every pore, and all you can think is “I better not blow this!”
If you stop and think about what’s going on, your focus is all on you and how you’re doing. We all have a critic that lives in our head that thrives on saying the most negative things it can. And that critic knows exactly what to say to really punch you in the gut when the pressure is on.
What can you do?
Find your intention verb.
Ask yourself beforehand, what do you want your audience to do, think or feel? What verb that captures that? Some good ones are: “inspire, motivate, excite.” Perhaps you need to caution your audience to take a new tactic or shift to a bold new strategy. In that case, you could use: “warn, alarm, or frighten” to shift them to take action, then move on to “inspire” them by sharing your vision for how things will improve after they adopt your recommendation. You might use more than one verb throughout a pitch based on the journey you’re taking your audience on.
By focusing on the effect you’d like to have on your audience with intention verbs, you distract your inner critic by giving full attention to the larger purpose of why you’re speaking in the first place. You don’t have to actually use the word, or let them know your intention verb. It’ll speak for itself in the passion and clarity of your delivery.
If you tend to deliver with low energy or speak in a monotone voice, this tactic does wonders, but you’ve got to commit to going “bigger” than you usually do.
Skeptical? Try it out on video without any intention, and then a 2nd time using your intention verb. You’ll see a massive difference.