Why Do You Feel So Nervous?
Feeling nervous before you speak in front of a room full of people is quite common among the majority of people today. According to surveys, many people would rather die than give a speech. However, remember no one has actually died from stage fright. It may help if you understand why the body goes into a complete fearful state when asked to give a speech. This feeling is actually the bodys natural fight or flight response when it encounters danger. The body releases adrenalin increasing your heart rate, blood circulation, and pulse rate causing the feeling of nausea, shaky knees, trembling lips, and sweaty hands. Below are 4 strategies to eliminate the fear of speaking and gain confidence.
1. Start with the 3 Ps.
a. Planning your presentation.
Whether you are giving a 30-second introduction or a 60-minute sales presentation, it is imperative that you first plan your talk on paper. Thinking you can just wing-in will end up in total disaster and the lost of potential sales.
Create an outline of your speech and write it down. Although it is popular in a political arena to write out an entire speech, I recommend only an outline. This will keep your talk from sounding memorized and help you to have a conversation with your listeners instead of talking at them. When planning your talk, be sure to create a beginning, middle, and end to your speech.
b. Practice your presentation.
Practicing your speech is one of the best ways to reduce the jitters.
As they say in Real Estate, location, location, location, is everything in speaking it is practice, practice, practice is everything.
Prepare 1 hour for every 2 minutes of your presentation (if your talk is 60 minutes, preparation time would be 30 hours this includes research, preparation, and practice time).
c. Prepare yourself.
On the day of your presentation arrive at your meeting location early and walk the speaking area. Meet as many people as you can and make them your friends. Meet the individual who is going to introduce you and make sure they have a copy of your bio and can pronounce your name correctly.
If you are speaking at a meeting that meets monthly, attend the month before your talk and see how the meeting is ran and how they introduce the speaker.
2. Visualize your success in advance.
Take 2 or 3 minutes each day imaging your success. Visualize your audience smiling and clapping after your presentation. Remember your audience is on your side and wants you to succeed.
3. Its not about you.
Many of us have heard of the worlds most listened-to radio station, WIIFM (Whats In It For Me?). Whether we want to believe it or not, this is the station your audience is probably listening to during your talk. To keep them attentive, focus your talk around WIIFT (whats in it for them). How?
a. Concentrate on the value you are giving.
Focus on the benefits you are giving to your audience and not on yourself or how nervous you may be. Remember nervousness doesnt show one-tenth as much as it feels. Never let your audience see you sweat and never, never, never, tell them you are nervous.
b. Keep your audience involved.
You can involve your audience in many different ways such as, exercises, breakouts, role-play, asking questions and more. When you involve your audience in your talk it takes the attention off of you and onto your audience. It is a great way to take a break from speaking and gain your composure.
A common trait among new speakers is that they forget to breathe. Breathing before your presentation can reduce anxiety and calm the butterflies.