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The Power of Visualization in Storytelling

Visualization is a powerful tool. There’s a reason why professionals use it to maximize performance. Actors, athletes, speakers, and many others use this technique to help realize our greatest dreams and opportunities.

It all comes down to the mind-body connection. If you can think it, you can achieve it.

The World Cup 2022, soccer’s biggest tournament, wrapped up earlier this month. High-performing athletes like Lionel Messi understand the power of visualization and practice it daily whether we know about it or not. I’m willing to bet that before the final high-stakes match, Messi visualized himself scoring a goal and being victorious.

When you visualize something happening, like scoring a goal, your mind takes notes and relays that information to your body. When you experience that event in real life, your body is then better equipped to meet its toughest challenges.

The same power of visualization is applicable to storytelling.

Empty speaking stage

Visualize Your Story

The key to visualization in storytelling is related to the idea of being present and showing up.

Here are two exercises to practice:

1. Days before your performance, visualize yourself telling the story in front of your audience -whether it is a group of coworkers, customers, or the general public.

Remember to be as specific as possible with the details:

  • having good posture

  • speaking clearly and confidently

  • using facial expressions and gestures

  • audience standing and/or clapping

2. Before you begin your delivery, take a few moments to visualize yourself in the story. Paint the picture for yourself so that you can do the same for the audience. This will help prepare your mind and body so that you show up and your audience is able to follow along.

The best storytellers are able to ground themselves in their story and vividly relive the experience as it if were happening in the present.

Here is a list of questions to guide your visualization:

  • Where were you?

  • Why were you there?

  • Who were you with?

  • What emotions or feelings were you feeling at the time?

As with other skills, the more you practice visualization the more you will improve.

David Ghodsizadeh is founder and storytelling coach at Storytelling 4 Success.

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