We've been thrilled by the 2018 Olympics. There are divots in our wood floor from jumping up and down in front of the TV, watching incredible tests of human will and physicality. As the Games wind down, let's review what can be transferred to speaking and presenting.
: This medal-winning Canadian figure skater practices in shopping mall ice rinks. She said the chaos resembles the madness of Olympic crowds. Like Kaetlyn, match rehearsal venues to where you'll speak.
: The Norwegian ski team made videos dressed in furs, running around screaming. They hold each other to task; "If you're slacking off, you'll get told off." Give your team a colorful identity and easily repeatable theme to fuel their aspirations.
: American silver medalist in Luge said "I was so relaxed (and able to medal) because I went through real ruts and became comfortable without results. I was at peace with myself." Speaking is an odds game with wins and losses. Learn to be ok with it.
Commentator David Feherty
on shooting in Biathlon: "It's like sprinting up ten flights of stairs with a 190 heart-rate, then lying down and trying to thread a needle." Similes and metaphors are diamonds for speakers and when used judiciously, are memorable.
Figure skater and commentator Scott Hamilton
, while demonstrating a difficult jump: "This is all muscle memory; you can't make decisions when you're in the air for seven tenths of a second." Similarly, if you rehearse delivery as much as your content, you can pivot, flex, or accommodate any challenge.
The Olympics is a testing ground, where the best and brightest rise to the occasion, or fail to perform. But aspiration burns bright, and these athletes humble the rest of us with their willingness to sacrifice everything to achieve their goals. The Ancient Greek civilization gave us democracy and the Olympic Games. May you too be Faster, Higher, Stronger.