We’ve all heard the fact: people’s biggest fear is public speaking, even scarier than death. In this blog I am going to share easy tips on how to manage your nerves when public speaking.
Being nervous about your upcoming presentation can be a good thing. But you don’t want too much of it. Being nervous before public speaking means that you actually care about the outcome. What we don’t want is to freeze and go into fight/flight mode. You want to feel calm and at ease.
- Know your content
This is super important. But don’t script, repeat and practice to the point that you know every single word. Why? Because it puts on a whole pile of pressure. If you miss a word here or there it can really throw you out. Instead practice a few different ways. When I get people to practice public speaking (in fact I do this with my kids when they are practicing their speeches) I get them to practice a few different ways. Read it through, do it the way you would do it normally and then try and change the words around a bit.
That way when you are speaking, if you get caught up and it’s not going exactly as you have practiced it, you know how to stay on track. You want to know your content enough to be comfortable with being flexible.
Remember to breathe. Before public speaking, sometimes we get to a point when we are nervous and we hold our breath. Or our breathing becomes shallow. You don’t want to do quick breathing and you don’t want to hold your breath. By taking nice long breaths before public speaking it gets you back to a calm state.
3. What is your focus?
Check what you are focusing on. If you are in your own head, telling yourself over and over again that your speech will be terrible and that you are going to stuff it up, this will serve to make you more nervous.
The nerves come from a place of fear base and you really want to check in on this before your public speaking gig.
Instead of focusing on what’s going on inside your head, focus on your audience. What can I deliver to my audience? What is it that they need? This will serve as a great distraction from what’s going on in your mind.
4. Check your language
What are you actually saying to yourself? Are you saying it the way you want it or are you saying it the way you don’t want it?
Here is an easy analogy to explain this: Have you ever told a kid not to run? “Don’t run”, you say. And what do they do? They run. Say it the way you want it. Things like “I’m feeling calm, I’m feeling like I know I can deliver, I know my stuff, the audience will like it” is a lot more helpful then “I am going to fail.”
5. Wriggle your toes
I am talking literally here as well as figuratively. This is a great tip I got from Jodie Thornton who is a fabulous parental coach. She uses it on her clients when they are getting really upset with the kids. You can use this before public speaking to calm your nerves.
It brings you back by interrupting the patterns that are going on in your head. If you are sitting there wriggling your toes you are probably not sitting there running through all the nerves in your head. So breathe, wriggle your toes and that will be a nice distraction for you so that you can then focus on your audience during your public speaking.
Our behaviour is an echo of our belief
Worth mentioning here too is that sometimes our nerves are actually driven from embedded fears or some of our beliefs that we have about ourselves. Most common ones are “I am not good enough” or “I am not good at public speaking” or “I can’t be successful”.
If this is you then this is a mindset issue which will need to be shifted, rewired and released. As a mindset coach I work with people on this one quite often.
The things that we are thinking, the things that we believe as being our truth are the things that are actually going to come out. Our behaviour is an echo of our belief.
If this sounds like you I would love to chat to you. You get a 20 minute COMPLIMENTARY chat. We will identify what is truly going on and then work together on strategies to shift this negative mindset.
There you have it, some tips to try next time you are public speaking.
What strategies do you use to calm your nerves before speaking in public?
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Here is a video on this topic
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