Eleven Easy-To-Use Steps
To Controlling Your Nervousness When Presenting To Any Audience.
By Pauline Shirley, Leaders on Fire
Article first published in Builder/Architect magazine
“The brain is a wondrous thing. It starts working the moment
we are born, and it doesn’t stop until… we stand up
to speak.” -- Anonymous.
Does this sound familiar? You are in the spotlight in front of a
client or potential client. This is your chance to shine. You have
this unique opportunity to close a deal, make an important connection
or highlight your company/product, as it deserves. And what happens?
Your mouth gets dry, your palms sweat and those glorious words you
know so well seem to stick like peanut butter in the roof of your
mouth, somewhere between your brain and your tongue. You are encountering
the fear of public speaking. Which, according to the Book of Lists,
is the number one fear most people experience and admit to.
Fear can be a terrible thing! It de-motivates, paralyzes and stifles
people’s capacity to perform and excel. Vast numbers of people
admit they are stricken with fear when they are expected to give
a report at a meeting or deliver a briefing or presentation to a
group -- regardless of the purpose. That’s the bad news. The
good news is you can overcome it.
1. Confront The Fear: Anyone who experiences anxiety
at the thought of giving a speech can consider himself in good company.
Acknowledging you are fearful, confronting the fear, and delivering
those speeches anyway are the only means of conquering it. Remember!
Once you have conquered the number one fear, you can do anything!
2. Control The Fear: The right attitude - which
is a positive attitude - helps to control your fear. Convince yourself
you will survive, because you will. History has proven that no one
has succumbed because of this fear. Put yourself in control -- not
3. Overcome Fear Through Practice: Practice as
much as is practicable for your presentation. Be generous with the
time you allow for practice. Practice assures you are fully knowledgeable
of your topic and are comfortable with your method of delivery.
Knowledge of your topic gives you confidence. Knowledge and confidence
4. Visualize: Visualization is an important method
of practicing for a presentation. Visualization allows you to practice
-- anytime, anywhere, anyplace. While showering, driving, or before
falling asleep, deliver your presentation mentally. Envision each
word and every nuance, up to and including the desired successful
conclusion and results. The visualization process instills the information
into your subconscious. Your nervous, conscious mind may forget.
Your subconscious mind does not.
5. Your Presentation: You are the authority on
your material. It is your topic, your information. You possess the
knowledge. Develop the ownership approach. Having ownership of your
material eliminates reasons to be nervous. After all, you and only
you know all there is to know about what you want to say.
6. Nervous Notes: Prepare your talk fully and if
necessary, use a flipchart or overhead transparencies for notes
rather than sheets of paper. Often the only obvious form of nervousness
shown by an apprehensive speaker is the fluttering of papers that
are being held or moved by a “quaking” hand. To be confident,
you must appear confident. When you appear confident, you speak
7. Calm The Tiger Within: Restless movement or
walking is obvious reflections of nervousness. To avoid pacing that
distracts the listeners, develop a firm, but not stiff, stance.
Plant your feet slightly apart. Place your right foot a couple of
inches in front of the left. From that position, make only purposeful
movement. After necessary movement, return to your original firm
8. Butterflies In Formation: Nervousness causes
fluttery feelings in your stomach – butterflies! An obvious
symptom of nervousness, you can teach your butterflies to fly in
formation! There is value to some nervousness. Transfer those fluttery
feelings into energy. A speaker with energy appeals to the listeners.
9. Eat And Speak: Butterflies caused by nervousness
do effect your stomach’s reception to food. If your nervousness
does not allow you to eat before you speak and you are speaking
at a meal event, determine at what point prior to your speech the
butterflies attack. Eat just before that point. Consider eating
food high in protein that provides the necessary stamina that gets
you through the presentation.
10. Confidence Is Appearance: More than anything
else, confidence is appearance. When you appear confident, it stands
to reason you are confident. That is what your audience sees anyway.
Recognize how to reflect confidence. Dress in clothes that make
you feel most confident. Practice “confident” facial
expressions. Make comfortable and personable eye contact with the
listeners. Touch them lightly with your eyes. Stand erect, hold
your head with certainty, and use your hands to influence your audience.
All of these build your perceived confidence factor.
11. To Err Is Human, Calling Attention To It Is Not Divine:
Even the most confident speaker makes a mistake on occasion, so
nervousness is not the only reason we blunder. The biggest error
in making a mistake is calling attention to it. More often than
not, only you know when you make a mistake. Correct any mistakes
that are important to data and facts. Ignore the minor mistakes
of using a word different from one you had planned or minor grammatical
errors. Continue the flow of your talk as though nothing happened.
Open the doors of opportunity by controlling your fears. The next
time you make a presentation to a client, in front of your bosses,
or at a meeting, follow these eleven steps and overcome the Number
Pauline Shirley, a dynamic, charismatic presenter, speaks, coaches
and trains from rich leadership experiences. She is president of
Leaders On Fire of Richardson, Texas, whose mission is to prepare
emerging leaders for today, tomorrow and the future. She may be
reached at 972/644-6430, LeadersOnFire@sbcglobal.net
or you may visit her website at www.paulineshirley.com.
Copyright © MMV Pauline Shirley