Subtext Use for Image Impact
Recently in a magazine discussing the techniques of public speaking, a very interesting recommendation was presented. I use this technique, which I learned when I was beginning my opera singing career long ago. It's an easy and effective self-talk technique for creating impact with others, from the stage or across the desk.
A non-vocalized subtext -sometimes called a subvocalized script-is the key: you consciously tell yourself something with your mind, even muttering the text for a moment to get the process going. This message is going to motivate a self-belief, a confidence in personal behavior that will communicate powerfully to others.
For example: what if your subtext thought were "Wow! You are so fortunate that I'm here for you!" -This may seem intensely self-serving -but that's just the point!! The subtext thought is designed to bring out of you behavior and poise that establish you as an important gift or prize to your client or to your astrology audience at a lecture. What about, "You KNOW I'm going to please you!" or "Heeeeeeeere's Johnnie!"
What if you introduced an opposite kind of text: "I don't know if I can do this" or "This is really beyond me"?
Say the first text several times, quietly, under your breath, but thinking strongly of the text's meaning. Register how you feel.
Now, do the same with the self-effacing text. Register how you feel. -Really put the thoughts into your mind and out through your eyes. It's amazing how you can feel changes everywhere within you!
Remember: in the line of action, when your adrenaline is pumping, these sub-texts become ever so much more vital and influential.
Your client -your audience- is going to evaluate you within the first 90 seconds of meeting you, seeing you. Your objective is going to be to keep the positive, aggressive, authoritative subtext going for the first 90 seconds. It works!
--Just last week at a convention, I was the wrap-up evening speaker after 6 days of very, very active participation with 6 hours of lectures and some 20 clients. With the work preparation and performance, I was down to perhaps 4 or 5 hours of sleep each night. By the final evening, I was very, very tired.
As I sat in front of the audience, listening to my introduction, I felt absolutely empty; I remember thinking, "What can I possibly now say for one and a half hours???" I felt like an empty thermos bottle -what a strange image, but that's what was going through my mind. The people certainly did not want that kind of evening!
I caught myself within this fatigued negativity, and I forcibly changed subtexts: I began to concentrate strongly on the words, "they expect the best; I'll give them the best. They expect the best; I'll give them the best." --I was introduced, and I kept that thought going in my mind, and immediately words and ideas and some humorous observations streamed into my consciousness. I felt my eyes gleaming; I was conscious of the relaxed ease of my gestures, the confidence, and I could see acceptance and comfort in the faces of the audience. -The subtext worked; it turned my energy reserves back on big-time!
Two days later, at home, still deeply tired, very early in the morning, I received some very difficult news: a long-time friend of mine was near death. I was wracked with sadness. I cried. I was extremely down. And as I looked vacuously at my desk, I realized that I had a client telephoning me for a full consultation in two hours. I thought of postponing the consultation, but, instead, I chose a sub-text to gather my strength and focus my dedication to serving my client well. The text I created was something like, "This is the time to be a professional; you CAN be at your best now. Yes."
Often, as I meet clients, I use different subtexts. Based upon my security with the preparation of the horoscope, for example. If there is a vagary, I might set up the mind-set "It will quickly be clear; it always is; it will happen."
If there is a classic pattern revealed throughout the horoscope preparation that may approach routine or even boredom for me (seeing, say, 7 or 8 people in a day, with 5 or 6 of the horoscopes speaking of basically the same developmental pattern), I say, "This will be easy for me, but all the more worthwhile to the client!"
If there is a particular challenge anticipated -a strong willed or skeptical or deeply withdrawn client-I tell myself, "You will get through to him; use grace and strength; it will happen."
These kinds of subtexts work for me. Try the technique. It will surprise you how your behavior will be affected and, in turn, how that will affect your client or audience in their perception of you!
Next update: June 30, 2001