Nerves are Natural and Normal. Use them to your Advantage!
Opening: Are you someone who feels nervous or anxious, when you're expected to introduce yourself to a group, address a meeting or have to present?
Do you realize that even experienced speakers are nervous before they speak?
Do you also know that nervousness can be a good thing and that you can use it to your advantage?
Promise: A degree of nervousness is a good thing and is a normal part of presenting. It tells you that what you're going to do is important to you and reminds you to do your best. It also gives you the extra rush of energy which can result in a more animated, passionate and powerful delivery. However, your nerves can be lessened and you will be a more comfortable, effective, and eager speaker if you delve into and reflect on the following four areas of nervousness.
Roadmap: Let's examine three areas of nervousness:
Understanding Your Nervousness
Most people feel nervous when speaking in front of an audience. Taken to the extreme, if the notion of speaking is making you avoid work or course assignments, or is even handicapping your career, you need to learn how to cope with your nervousness. Maybe you've earned a reputation as being knowledgeable and credible in a specific field and you want and or need others to hear what you have to say, but your nervousness holds you back. Can you relate to this? You CAN do something about it. You CAN learn to be a confident, comfortable speaker.
Are you nervous because you think you'll make a mistake, forget a line, or lose your spot? Guess what? You're human and therefore not infallible. If you miss a line or two, no one knows that, as only YOU knows YOUR exact script. Just carry on. And if you lose your spot, rely on your bullet point notes and just pick up from there.
If right from the start you establish a likeable rapport with your audience, connect with them, and give them a valuable message, they will be endeared to you and also be forgiving, if you happen to make an occasional stumble. (The operative word here is 'occasional') An audience doesn't need or expect perfection; they want personable and of course, someone who is prepared.
Recognizing Nervous Habits
Are you aware of any nervous habits?
Accepting Your Nervousness
Rather than spending time focusing on and trying to control or overcome your nerves, accept the fact that you are supposed to feel a degree of nervousness, since the success of your speech is important to you. Don't give power and attention to your nerves as they will control you. The Law of Attraction states that you draw whatever it is that you focus on. In other words, what you focus on, expands. So focus on positives. The 5 points below will deal with an attitudinal mindset.
The Little Engine That Could said:
I think I can, I think I can!
I challenge you to say:
I KNOW I can, I KNOW I can!! ...AND YOU WILL!!
Which of these tips have you possibly adopted in the past? If you're at the point where you feel these tips for dealing with your fear of speaking are not needed, share them with others whom you feel may benefit from knowing them. If you feel are needed more advice, encouragement and suggestions, I invite you to take a look at the Panic to Power CD below.
Join me next month when we look at the letter "O" as it relates to another speaking skill. Until then, happy speaking!
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