Do you think the professionals get nervous? You bet they do and those nerves are a good thing, they drive us to prepare well, they drive us to focus and they give us energy on the day. If you’re too relaxed you probably aren’t giving it the focus it needs. However there is a problem if these nerves become limiting! According to Alan Donegan from Toastmasters International, the first step is to stop for a second and ask ourselves; “are nerves always a bad thing?”
1. Remember nerves are normal everyone gets them. If you feel nervous then you are human. Revel in it and read on to find out what to do with them!
2. How do the nerves manifest themselves for you? For most people it is normally a fear of forgetting what they are going to say, or falling over, or people laughing at them. These thoughts make it worse and it is a downward spiral.
Stop these thoughts and instead think about “how much value can I give to my audience?”, “how can I make it fun for my audience?” or ask “how could this be fun for me!?”
3. You are there to give the audience a gift, don’t think you are there giving a presentation that is going to be scrutinised! You are there to give them a gift of your experience, knowledge and expertise
4. If you get the opportunity beforehand then chat to the audience. It will feel more like you are talking to a group of friends as opposed to strangers
5. The best antidote to nerves is to do it regularly. The more you do it the more comfortable you will become with it, so practice practice, practice!
6. Remember that they want you to succeed! No one in the audience is thinking “I hope this guy is rubbish, I hope I don’t enjoy it!!”
7. Deliver the talk in front of a friendly audience to start with and get comfortable with it. Then when you go to a new audience you will feel better about it. Don’t test a new speech on a new audience!
8. Before you start to present take a moment to breathe deeply and slowly. Try breathing in for three, holding for nine and then out for six. Repeat four or five times.
9. Instead of asking yourself “how am I going to remember all of this?” or “what if they hate it?” ask better questions like; “how can I make this fun for the audience?” or “which bit of my presentation are they going to enjoy the most?”
By following these simple tips you can easily reduce your nerves so they become an asset not a hindrance.