How to Take Hold of Those Public Speaking Nerves
You are ready for your guest speaking role; as a public speaker, you have your speech prepared, you’ve arrived early to check out the venue, and even the technology is working, yay!
All is going to plan. You are enjoying chatting with your audience members when you notice the time. Yikes! You’re on in ten. You feel a sudden rush of adrenaline through your body; it’s those slippery little suckers of public speaking, nerves! Your heart beats faster, your palms start to sweat, adrenaline is racing through you, and your voice is shaky. Your name is called … You’re up!
Even the most experienced and confident public speakers will experience nerves in public speaking.
Nerves are a necessary way of handling your energy. The key is that you want to channel that energy into a positive flow and not be overwhelmed. Let’s talk about these nerves and the techniques you can use to channel your energy.
Here are three tips you can apply to kill your public speaking nerves:
Tip 1 – Breathing technique.
Before you go on stage, you are going to feel a surge of adrenaline running through your body. This will occur approximately ten minutes beforehand. Harness this nervous energy; channel it into positive energy by breathing in and out, through the nose, very slowly for ten seconds.
Now, I’m talking about breathing that’s high up in the nose, so it’s like that yoga style of breathing and it sounds like a little bit of a snore when you do it. When you breathe slow and deeply for 10 seconds in and out, that calms your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), and it’s going to make you feel calmer.
Try it now; ten seconds breathing in, ten seconds breathing out. See how you go.
Tip 2 – Physical preparation.
You want to get your body ready. One key way to do this is to make sure that when you are being introduced and when you are about to walk on stage, don’t be sitting down. Don’t be crunching up your diaphragm and your lungs. You want to be kicking your diaphragm into action and have your breathing airways open.
One way to do this is to do a bit of a cough, a gentle cough, to kick the diaphragm into action. You also want to be moving, to kick all of your body into motion, as this will give you much better energy as you take the stage.
You want to channel all of that energy as you walk on to the stage, you might even choose to run on stage, think a-la-Tony Robbins. Get your body, posture and movement into action for your best physical preparation.
Tip 3 – Smile.
It sounds obvious, even silly, to say that you should smile as a public speaker. There are good reasons to do so, outside of your own perspective. When you smile, it relaxes you, and it creates a connection with your audience.
The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness. The feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released when you show your dazzling smile. Loretta Breuning talks about these in her book, Meet your Happy Chemicals.
When you smile, it can also make people in your audience feel noticed and even appreciated. If you live by the rule as a speaker that ‘It’s not about you – It’s about your audience’, you know this is important. It is also said that you are seen by your audience as more confident and attractive.
Your smile should be natural and genuine. I’m not saying you should program in forced smiles along the way, just use your smile to be present and engage with your audience. Your audience is intelligent; they can sense if you are not genuine with them.
A smile is so simple, yet powerful. It is so simple that it often gets left behind; embrace your smile!
Use these three tips on how you can harness the energy, channel it into positive, and take hold of those nerves once and for all.
Apply these tips consistently, and they will make a difference to your public speaking nerves. Then, there will be no stopping you. Go for it!
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