IN MEDIA, YOUR MINDSET MATTERS

Presenting is a mind game. Success in broadcasting and podcasting starts with what you intentionally think and feel, and what self-talk you allow your brain to whisper in your ear.

Your internal monologue frames your efforts and affects your emotional state, especially when you are learning something new. Have you ever had your career held back by a critical, negative director? Your inner voice can also discourage and diminish your work.

Instead, generate an optimistic, encouraging internal coach who believes that you can do it. Does it work? Ask actor Geena Davis.

Geena Davis is known for acting in great films like Thelma and Louise and A League of Their Own – and she is world-renowned for archery. In an In-Style interview, Ms. Davis says she got really good with a bow and arrow after a mindset change.

“My archery coach started working with me on self-talk. I would shoot an arrow, and my coach would say to me, ‘What were you just thinking?’ ‘Uh, I was thinking, “I suck.”’ Then he would be like, ‘Well, we have to fix that.’ I became aware that I was doing this all day long, telling myself that I was awful and embarrassing. So, it was really helpful to change all that. ‘I’m doing the best I can. I’m trying my best’ — that’s the conversation I should be having. It impacted my whole life.”

With that change to her inner monologue, Geena Davis became a semi-finalist for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Your audience also senses your thoughts and emotions. Your inner state radiates and communicates through your facial expressions, voice, gestures and choice of words.

One of my favorite show business stories involves young comedian Minnie Pearl, shaking with fright as she was about to go on stage at country music’s Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville in 1940.

In those days, woman comedians were rare, and Minnie Pearl was outlandish. She performed in a straw hat covered with flowers and a $1.98 price tag attached. It was uncertain if audiences would appreciate Minnie’s tall tales about husband-hunting or her parody of rural Southerners.

George D. Hay, the founder of the Grand Ol’ Opry was standing in the wings and noticed Minnie Pearl’s nervousness. He came up alongside and quietly suggested, “Just love ‘em honey, and they’ll love you right back.”

It was the perfect advice. Minnie Pearl went on stage and shouted, “How-Dee! I’m just so proud to be here!” The audience sensed that she loved them and they did indeed love her right back. Minnie Pearl used that energetic opening in every performance for more than 50 years.

Think of that story if you are ever anxious about being accepted. Last week, I coached a woman relatively new to the US from China. She felt intimidated, unsure if her mostly white male audience would take her seriously as a presenter.

We worked to replace her worry about the audience’s acceptance with a new mindset; her enthusiastic acceptance of them. No presenter ever wins over 100% of their audience, but for this person the mindset shift worked and she made a great immediate impression.

Minnie Pearl has passed away, but would she not be so proud that her story helped another media personality get love from an audience?