The annual Super Bowl lends itself to all sorts of lessons for entrepreneurs. Watching Sunday Fun-day is a crash course in marketing tips from the multi-million dollar ads to the genius strategies of the businesses behind them.
The same tactics used to win football games can even help you win at business. But when do all executives need to win the day? Presentations.
Public speakers need to bring their A-game to a presentation–just like the players at the Super Bowl. It’s Do or Die, down to the wire when you walk out on the field or the stage.
Super Bowl players have preparation techniques for optimal performance. Speakers can adapt those best practices for equally high stakes performances: speaking engagements.
Most live events have the capacity to teach the savvy speaker-in-training, and the Super Bowl is no exception. Strap on your uniform and grab your mic–its game day. But first… let’s warm-up.
Here are three warm-up tips inspired by Super Bowls past and present:
1. Channel Pregame Jitters
Football players tend to feel a little pressure when they get ready to walk on the field during a Super Bowl. Super Bowl 50 was, at one time, the most-watched television program in the history of television (it has since been eclipsed by the Game 7 championship in the most recent NBA Finals).
You know what the pros do with their nerves before a big game? They turn that anxiety into excitement.
As a speaker, you can do the same. Instead of fighting the physiology of your body and its fight-or-flight response, use the similarity between flight and fight to fight–just like the pros do.
Sports psychologist Charlie Maher believes football players experience anxiety all season long, and that keeping their usual routine helps players stay focused mentally and emotionally before a big game like the Super Bowl.
Think like a winning athlete before by channeling nervous energy into usable energy. Tell yourself “I’m pumped up! I can’t wait to share my message!” Leave any limiting self-beliefs on the sidelines by creating a pre-presentation mantra that you’re excited to get on stage. The difference between bringing your speaking A game and looking like a nervous wreck may be as simple as your own inner dialogue.
2. Physically Warm-Up
Being psychologically prepared is one thing, but a speaker’s instrument is her voice and body, just as a football player’s instrument is his body.
The Atlanta Falcons, who are about to play in their first Super Bowl since 1998, incorporate the psychological with the physical by getting excited and warmed-up with their pregame routine.
A thorough warm-up ensures you enter your presentation space loose and relaxed–nervous energy lives in your muscles. Warm-ups are just as useful for your body as your voice to let all of that tension out, saving you from freezing up on stage.
Find a private place before you present to stretch, shake and jump up and down. Any physical activity that gets your blood flowing and your muscles moving will help you feel energized yet grounded when you speak. Add in a few tongue twisters, facial stretches and yawns to warm up your mouth and you’ll soon be speaking like a seasoned actor.
3. Review Your Playbook and Strategize
Just as football teams review the plays they need to win, you need to go over the items that will make you succeed.
Coaches eyeball the field before any play commences. They help the team become acquainted with the space and where they will be executing each movement. Speakers should do the same, guaranteeing their speech isn’t the first time they’ve assessed their environment.
Get there early and take a lap around the area. Where should you stand to best engage your audience? Is your technology set up and working properly?
Coach Don Shula who led the Miami Dolphins to two Super Bowl wins had this to say about his pregame speeches to his teams: “What you try to do is do the things that got you to where you are… you don’t want to be someone that you’re not. The thing I tried to do is summarize what it took to get there.”
In this Super Bowl, be sure to watch the game with a careful eye. Take note of the players’ best practices and keep them in mind for your next presentation. If all else fails, football might help you sweat more in preparation, bleed less in battle.