Overcome Nervousness & Anxiety
Everyone experiences nervousness & anxiety whether it’s because the audience is too large, too small, or they are speaking to people they know or people that they don’t know. We all have a particular situation that would tend to make us nervous.
The keys to overcome nervousness or anxiety are to:
- Understand that your thoughts cause the fear/nervousness/anxiety not the reasons.
- Understand that those thoughts are all about you.
- Public speaking is not about you – it’s about the audience, without them, there is no presentation.
- When you notice any nervousness, you must acknowledge that you’re thinking about and focusing on yourself.
- As soon as you recognize that you are focusing on you, shift your focus off of you and focus on the value that you are providing for your audience. (Get to work on your research, your outline, your practice.)
- Keep repeating this process. You will develop a habit of it and it will become second nature!
There are 4 Pillars to be a Compelling Speaker:
1 – Be Passionate about 3 Things
- Be passionate (1st pillar) about your topic, your audience, and improving your speaking skills. Your passion is the fuel that will drive you and keep you going.
2 – Be Powerful about the Same 3 Things
- Be powerful (2nd pillar) which is being knowledgeable about your topic, audience, and improving your speaking skills. Never stop learning about your topic. Investigate intensely about your audience (super important) before you prepare your talk. And, lastly, always be learning about speaking skills.
4 – Prepare Your Talk (Even if you’ve given it 100 times)
- Prepare (3rd pillar) your talk even if you’ve given it 100 times. Your talk needs to be fresh not only because every time you give it, it’s a new set of circumstances and a new audience, also because it will invigorate your passion. Preparation should be done in specific, tangible ways, with an opening and close that relate to the objectives of your talk. Write out your talk in outline format with 3 main points and as many sub-points that time will allow.
4 – Practice Stirs Your Passion
- Practice (4th pillar) your talk before each presentation – even if you have given the talk before. Record your talk so that you can time it and make necessary adjustments to stay within the allotted time frame. Video your presentation (or at least part of it) so that you can see what you like and what you don’t like to improve your delivery.
Improve Your Speaking Skills
- Stop saying nonsense utterances, such as, “um”, “uh,” “like,” “you know,” “basically.”
- Learn how to engage your audiences by getting them involved – ask questions, call out their names, talk to them not at them. Watch talk shows to get a feel for how to engage. The Ellen DeGeneres show is a great example.
- Use the power of the pause. Take a breath. Pausing can actually engage your audience.
- Look your best and feel your best and stand with authority and conviction. Don’t pace back and forth or rock. Everything you do should be an intended gesture or movement, yet authentic. This is just a skill and anyone can learn it.
- Other speaking skills include making eye contact, using inflection, projecting your voice, speaking clearly, having fun, using props, and being inspired. You’ll get there!!
Start Speaking at Every Opportunity
- Hold your own workshops regularly to guarantee speaking opportunities. Although hosting your own workshops can be a lot of work, they have a tremendous upside as they will establish your authority and credibility in the marketplace.
- Offer to speak at networking groups, Kiwanis, Optimist, Rotary Clubs, and to other groups that meet regularly and need speakers. “Waive your fee.”
- The more you speak, the better you will become. And, if you bomb, great! You will have learned a lot. Don’t give up.