Posts Tagged ‘professional communicators’

Sports Commentary: Is The Past Really In The Past?

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Does the past always influence the future based on fact, or is it all psychology?

When economists forecast the rise and fall of financial trends or when political commentators predict the swings in government – and get it right – are they just clever predictions based on past events and cold statistics, or is there more to it? Could they be psychologically influencing our decisions and future choices unwittingly with the words they use?

If we take the same parallel with sport, sporting commentators speculate on the outcome of a game based on past results of the player or team.

Again is this just the sum total of interesting statistics, relevant information and probable mathematics, or does their suggestibility hold a more subconscious influence over the players and impact on the potential outcome of the game.

In the same way people are influenced into believing and blindly following social, economic, health and even fashion trends, covert use of targeted language can also heavily influence our athletes into following performance trends.

This could result in either psychologically winning or losing a competition before they ever step onto the pitch – all based on the expert’s analysis.

Most sporting commentators are past or current players, coaches or influential people within their sporting community and often hold a great deal of respect from within that code.

So clearly their opinions and predictions matter to those who they are commentating on!

If the commentators believe a particular team is certain to lose and they publically verbalise these beliefs, boosting their point of view with statistics, history and plays as proof then the self-belief of the players on the potentially losing team will diminish – thus becoming a self fulfilling prophecy instigated from the commentary box.

Humans are socially and psychologically pack animals, guided by the community, socially driven to assimilate and conditioned to believe and follow our leaders – especially those we emotionally adorn. So it stands to reason when a well respected social influencer tells you you’re destined to lose, the doubt enters your mind and becomes a focus point now giving you the option to lose – as it is expected.

The same outcome is achieved when statistics are highlighted as a probable outcome of the future such as ‘the last time these teams met they lost by 100 points’ or ‘this team have never won at this venue before!’ All these factors and the social expectation weigh heavily on their minds and performance.

So has our thirst for up to the minute knowledge, opinions and statistics and the medias willingness to supply that information begun to influence how an athlete physically and mentally performs? Athletes will tell you ‘No!’ They will say the media plays little part in their preparation or performance – they say this because they are told to say it not necessarily because they believe it.

So as a coach or commentator we have a duty and responsibility to understand that what we say could have an impact on the outcome and psychology of an athlete.

Using Your Most Innate Skill to Deliver Peak Performance

Monday, May 16th, 2011


Delivering Powerful Presentations is a Breathe…


No, that’s not a lisp. We all breathe, right?

If you, like me, are a professional speaker, maybe you are a coach, a coaches coach, a teacher, lecturer, trainer, DJ or someone who just communicates for a living then you will know it is as much about the delivery of content as it is about the content itself.

When getting your message across the aim is to get key information in to the minds of our audience in an efficient manner and get it to stick.

Received, retained and recalled when required.

I would like to share with you some my favourite techniques for training and conditioning yourself to speak more effectively and in a clear and controlled manner – every time.


It’s all in the breath.


I was once told by a professional voiceover for the BBC that a quality delivery is all about controlling your breathing and breath delivery in every situation and in every context.

Let’s face it, no one wants to hear a speaker who sounds like a Puffing Billy steam train, huffing and puffing up a hill as they deliver their content – nor do we want to listen to Speedy Gonzales, Monotone Mike or Wobbly Wilma. It detracts from the content and the experience.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where the quality of a speaker’s delivery has not met your expectations and found yourself disengaging from their message? Intellectually, your brain is reluctantly clinging to the vocal thread, grasping to weave the pieces together into something meaningful… but emotionally it’s meandering downwards into ‘sleep mode’. As recipients of information, our five senses have high expectations and if they are not met, we tend to simply shut off and mentally ‘sit it out’ for the duration.

So controlled breathing is paramount when making sure the recipients of your information are engaged and able to receive, retain and recall your message right through to the end.


Changing this Habit of a Lifetime Provides 4 Major Benefits.

An exercise I practise frequently is reciting my lecture or keynote speech whilst I am exercising. I do this often whilst running through 12km of punishing sand hills – if you are not that sadistic – any kind of physical exertion will do the job.

Practise these 4 simple techniques to improve your voice control and ensure your presentations pack a powerful punch:

1. When you physically push your body to it’s limits and utilise all available oxygen, train yourself to deliver your content as clearly and concisely as possible. Be very conscious of your oxygen intake, distribution and controlled exhale. This will train you to think hard about timing, clarity and the delivery and control of word annunciation.

2. A secondary benefit to this sort of physical activity is that our cognitive filtration system is otherwise engaged and therefore partly disengaged from the incoming information. It pays less attention to the relevance of content, choosing not to spend as much time filtering it. This means less emotional attachment to the content and to the event (delivery). So if you are a nervous speaker or highly emotional speaker then having less emotional attachment will lower the anxiety levels and enable you to deliver clear, concise ‘content’ rather than a mumble or jumble.

We simulate a similar technique with athletes who wish to overcome a situation or play they are anxious about using the Smart Mind Institute™ Bounce and GridBall Exercises – very effective at removing any negative emotion from their game.

3. Another key benefit to less filtration of the information you are reciting is it allows better imprinting of key information into our memory, as well as increasing rhythmical patterning to the information, which increases accuracy of recall.

4. The fourth benefit is the physical increase in oxygen required to speak and exercise, so this over time increases your overall cardiovascular fitness.

If you don’t have a current training programme, lecture, speech, or presentation to deliver then select lyric-heavy songs and sing those whilst running/exercising. This will have the same effect on your breathing awareness, word clarity and also train your general fitness.


Remember Your 3 Qs.

Something to keep in mind is the 3-Qs process – when breathing the 3-Qs refers to Quantity – Quantity – Quality breathing.

Basically take 2 deep breaths to every 1 through your nose, this allows the lungs to fill and absorb enough oxygen and also allows the nitric oxide to be collected when passing through our nasal cavity and act as a vessel dilator – increasing oxygen absorption into the blood steam.

As with everything, it takes practise (and you may get some fellow exercisers look at you funny) – but hey it is worth it.