I’m writing this from the road, where I have a number of gigs lined up back-to-back. Airport, Uber, hotel, event, Uber, airport, Uber, hotel, event… you get the idea.
In the last eight days, I've spoken in Chicago, Mississippi, DC, and Dallas!
Ah, yes, the life of a speaker is simultaneously exciting… and exhausting!
But it’s all good. Because my well-established pre-stage routine has been a tremendous help over the years.
This type of preparation is actually really common in high-level athletes. Michael Phelps is famous for eating something like six stacks of pancakes and downing a few cans of Red Bull before he hops in the pool to win his Olympic gold medals.
So, if you treat yourself like a professional athlete – by establishing a ritual before you take the stage – it’s a big piece of getting yourself into the right mindset to kill it during your speech.
Sure, it can be hard to set a routine when you’re on the road a ton and constantly waking up in new time zones. You’re sleeping in unfamiliar hotels, and your clothes are stuffed into your suitcase.
But consider this…
If you put in the effort to build a speaking day routine, you’ll use one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal to prepare yourself and be on stage.
Personally, my pre-stage routine takes four hours. (Yes, I have it timed out exactly and do it the same before every gig.)
As a matter of fact, I’ll go ahead and list the start of my routine here for your viewing pleasure.
A glimpse into my routine:
Wake up four hours before my call time.
Rehearse for two hours.
Walk to Starbucks. (This is actually a really important part of my routine. I will explain why tomorrow.)
Buy my latte and then walk back.
During the walk, listen to my Spotify “pump up” playlist.
Lay out my clothes.
Check my tech pack.
Review my agenda.
Review my audience notes.
Review acronyms the audience uses.
Take a shower. (All that walking made me sweaty.)
Check my props and note cards.
Put my business cards in my suit.
Listen to my pump playlist while I’m getting ready. (Dance! Yes, seriously. I’ll explain why tomorrow.)
That’s just the start of the routine, but you can start to see how precisely I plan everything out.
So, why do YOU need to build a routine like this one? Well, there are five main reasons. Let’s take a look…
Routine Reason #1: Boost Your Confidence
Establishing this kind of pre-speech ritual helps you feel more confident and in control. When you have this familiar set of actions that you’re performing before you take the stage, it reduces your anxiety overall.
It gives you the sense that you are prepared and in control of anything that could happen.
Routine Reason #2: Enhance Your Focus
High-level athletes aren’t the only ones who need to have focus and mental preparedness going into a performance. Speakers need it too.
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