Nervousness: Wonderful For Public Speaking
Nervousness is wonderful, and can give you an edge. However, controlling it is the secret to allowing your nervousness work for you for your talk, speech or presentation.
Once, it was suggested to me to imagine my fear and anxiety as excitement and drive. That really worked for me. Through having coaching, I’ve gone from someone who went red in the face at the mention of my name in public, to being confident to present to 100 people.
I believe you can do it too, if you want to. It’s all about the end result you want. Whether you want to feel confident, inspire others, gain respect or make people laugh, deciding on what you want to convey is a good starting point.
Then there’s the acceptable etiquette to consider, content and practice. There are the practical things to decide on like having prompt cards, accessories and gadgets you might use, where you will stand and if you need a mic. These are all things to think about to ensure you make the best of your time up there and make the impact you want.
Be prepared for the unexpected, the hiccup, the failure of others, prompts or technology. Because, normally, we want to put it off, preparation or even the content of our presentation is often left to the last minute. This may make you uncontrollably nervous when it comes to it.
Make it easy for yourself. What I mean by this is, make it easy to remember, easy to say and easy to listen to. There are choices for you and ways to get feedback. For example, you could run your wording ‘live’ past someone who’s feedback you value. You could record or film yourself, or practice in the setting you’ll be at on the day. Just remember, you are normally your own worst critic, so try to give yourself some positive feedback, and ask for both negative and positive feedback from anyone else whose opinion you ask.
You will benefit if you can learn how to become more confident in yourself, as a whole, as well as for this particular event. Consider what you can do well in life, and when you feel most confident and build on it. Then think about what you want to improve on and work on that, in advance, in different ways. Take up many and varied opportunities to practice.
There is definitely something to be said for persuading your subconscious mind that you are indeed confident and capable of doing this really well. Keep telling yourself you’re going to be brilliant and you will start to believe it, and become it.
On a practical note, I’ve read that voice coaches suggest you use your chest to power your voice. It gives you a more controlled and resonant speaking voice, and it is one of the best means of controlling nervous voice-wobbling! I used this when I started to cry during my wedding speech. I stopped, took a few deep breaths and continued. Avoid making apologies or making an excuse for something before you start, as it diminishes your credibility with your audience before you’ve even started.
There are many ways to open a speech or presentation and lots of suggested content on the internet, but there is little about practice, confidence and if you don’t have anyone suitable to support you or practice on, then it can be tough.
However, you can always get better at something, you just have to want to do it and you need to do that first thing to make a start.