Visualisation is a method that comes from 'positive thinking' movements a'la "Secret", but at the same time has concrete use in sport coaching. Some sportsmen use it to improve their performance, and scientific researches show it brings measurable results. The real secret of this method is that it can be used to improve performance in public speaking.
Is some of personal development groups this method is treated as a way to 'attract' physical things, wellness, money, and to "materialize" some events we desire. I don't personally believe this sort of 'magical' use works for real, so I'll not comment it. It seems however that visualisation can do great work where we need to form out behaviours â€“ to influence how our voice sounds, and what body language our body uses. So we can use visualisation as one of methods of preparation for our speech. How do we actually do it?
A good idea is to start with relaxation. When our body is relaxed, and our brain works on an 'alpha' waves, it's much easier to imagine anything. And it's easier to keep that picture in mind for long time, to stay focused on it. To turn ourselves into relaxation mode, we can count slowly from 100 to 0, or focus on relaxing each of our muscles one by one.
When relaxed, we can start the main part of the exercise. We can 'see' the movie with us going to the building and giving a speech â€“ everything inside our head. This helps us get used to the situation. We can also see how the room, and the prople on the audience look like. In perfect world we know how they look look like from a real life, and can just remind it. Remember visualisation is efficient in forming concrete behavioural patterns. So we should decide how do we want our body to move, how do we want our voice to sound, what posture we want our body to present. And then envision that as vividly as we can. We should see and feel all that factors as they were already real. We can see them one by one, or all together. It's also great idea to say in our visualisation session exactly what we're going to say on our presentation. So that we can 'hear' our voice with right emotional colouring and modulation.
It could be also helpful to visualise questions that audience asks you. We should see the whole situation from when someone asks a question, through us answering, and them being satisfied with our answer. This is especially important regarding those questions we recognise as difficult ones.
So visualisation of us giving our presentation is a good method of dealing with public speaking anxiety. It may help us form behavioural patterns that we want to activate. I recommend it as an additional method.