What is the biggest challenge when it comes to public speaking? I have spoken with so many people and I’ve done so much research, and many of you have said to me: it’s PRESENTATION NERVES. No matter how well prepared you are, you get this overwhelming feeling: your heart is pounding, your voice is quivering, your hands are sweaty – the whole package! We’ve all been there, including myself!
There are 3 particular ways that helped me cope with the nerves. They have all worked for me, and I am confident they will work for you.
Here they are:
1. Getting into the right mindset. There is one simple positive thinking script I came across this tactics when reading a post about dealing with job interview stress. But in fact, the technique is much more powerful than just helping with job interviews, it works for me in any stressful situation (including public speaking and presentations!)
Authored by Ian Rowland, the strategy is about making positive and declarative sentences about:
- The interviewer (in your case: your audience)
- The situation you are in
So for example, you might want to say to yourself:
- I am a great speaker, and I am well prepared.
- The audience is very friendly and can’t wait to listen to my talk.
- It’s a beautiful day to do this talk!
This technique will keep your mind in a highly resourceful and positive state, without the need to overthink or overcomplicate the situation.
2. Stretching the body wide. Our posture can influence our thoughts and emotions. Slouch, and you’re likely to feel out of energy. That is to do with cortisol (the stress hormone) that activates when we are bunched up, when we slouch or when we are in any other low power pose. On the contrary, as we sit up straight or stretch our limbs out wide, testosterone (the dominance hormone) kicks in and makes us feel instantly more confident and relaxed. Stretch your limbs as far as they will go, make a V with your arms. Do that stretch first thing in the morning and just before going on stage or into the presentation room (just make sure you do this somewhere private, even a toilet cubicle will do!) – it will give you that confidence kick.
3. Breathing right. You would be surprised, but the solution is shockingly simple: BREATHING! I can hear you thinking right now: “But I am already doing this, and it’s not making any difference!”
That’s because when dealing with nerves, you need a special type of breathing. It’s different from the way we usually breathe in our daily life. It’s deeper, it slows your heart rate, it calms you down, and you appear more confident and in control. It’s the key to taking the edge off your nerves and making you instantaneously more relaxed. It’s the key to a more confident speaking, a stronger voice and a more upbeat attitude. It’s worked for me not only in public speaking, but in other stressful situations: before that crucial conversation or that important phone call. It made me calmer, more positive, more upbeat and ready to take the challenge.
CLICK HERE to get your FREE Breathe To Relax step-by-step guide that would help you instantaneously calm your speaking nerves.