Life’s too short for dull presentations part 5 Anxiety
Anxiety – What can we do so we are not a quivering wreck when we stand up to speak?
Firstly let me bust a common myth – everyone gets nervous. Even professionals – its just that some people get used to it with experience and others learn to deal with it. The best advice I have ever heard about anxiety is ‘learn to change your state of mind’. For example…nerves are very helpful if we feel “Ready to rock” but if we are “Shaking with apprehension” that’s not so good. Speaker Steve McDermott says “I don’t get nervous, but sometimes it feels a bit like Christmas morning” – that has been so helpful for me.
Is there a way of rethinking your nerves? If we are nervous and run around being nervous, telling everyone we are nervous then guess what – you’ll be nervous. So acknowledge the nerves, but try and find ways to think differently. Sometimes I like to think of a time when a talk has gone really well and I think about that. Olympic divers do the same, apparently they visualise their dive again and again so that when they do it for real it’s like they have already been there. That sort of thinking or visualisation can help us get through some very tense moments.
Breathing well can also help before speaking – just try this now – breath in deeply through your nose for two seconds and then out of your mouth for four seconds, breath like that for a couple of minutes and you can feel the stress leave your body.
So, in a nutshell…keep breathing, control your negative thoughts, drink water, plan well and keep smiling – and it will feel much different, I promise.
Always remember the audience wont kill you, even if they don’t like you – they wont kill you! Have fun!