How to deal with nerves when asked to give a speech

We’ve all heard the statistics: People are more afraid of public speaking than they are of snakes, spiders, or even death. You are not alone.

It is stressful to think of a room full of people whose eyes of judgment are on you. What if you forget what you wanted to say? What if you trip over the microphone cord or tuck your skirt up behind your pantyhose? What if you have broccoli in your teeth, gravy on your tie, or get booed offstage? What if everyone thinks you’re an idiot?

Thinking this way is what leads most people to feel that death is a better alternative than public speaking, but it’s all in your imagination. Just like anything else you’ve learned to do, you can overcome your discomfort if you understand the mechanics and practice.

The public is on your side

Have you ever expected a speaker to suck? To be boring? Fail miserably? Of course not! He wants to be entertained and informed just like the rest of the audience. He wants to see the speaker succeed. Even if the speaker is a complete stranger, you are rooting for them and really hope they do well.

Think about it. That’s why we watch game shows – we love to see people win! We want to see people succeed. It’s just human nature.

Your audience is rooting for you! Every person in the room expects success from her. Remember this at all times: the audience is completely on your side.

Prepare for the best and the worst

One thing I’ve learned as a coach is that people spend so much time preparing for the worst things that can happen (and never do) that they forget to plan for when the best things do happen. Do you know how to handle success?

Approach your next speech from the perspective that you’re planning a really good experience. Then, and only then, make sure you have your bases covered for whatever may come down the road. Know your speech well enough that if the projector doesn’t work, you don’t need your PowerPoint. Memorize your opening and closing so that if you need to cut back on your time, you can. Bring an extra pair of pantyhose. Bring an extra tie. Do a sound check before the event to see if it works and where the dead spots are. Having a plan for things that could go wrong will allay many of your fears.

Throughout my career as a professional speaker, sound systems failed, lights went out mid-speech, stage stairs collapsed, fire alarms went off, venues changed, I was even asked to cut my time. in half a minute before continuing. However, the odds are in your favor. These things have happened to me for 15 years. Still, I’ve never been booed offstage. The public was still on my side.

Prepare yourself for the best possible outcome, but also prepare to deal with whatever comes your way. could happen, knowing that it probably won’t. Every ship has lifeboats, but no ship blueprints when sinking Plan to sail smoothly, be prepared for rough waters if you hit them.

practice practice practice

Do you remember the first time you tried to tie your shoes? Roller skate? Ride a car? Read? It was not easy. It took practice. Now it’s second nature. Talking is the same way. The more you practice, the easier it will be.

After you have written your speech, practice in front of the mirror. Then practice for a family member, even if he is your dog. (My dog ​​is my best sounding board). Practice for some friends. Practice in your car, in the shower, while taking a walk. Practice in your head. See yourself being calm, cool and dynamic.

Join a Toastmasters club. This is a wonderful organization that allows you to grow at your own pace in a supportive environment. You can practice your speech and get immediate feedback. It is inexpensive and invaluable for a novice speaker.

you have this

On the day of your presentation, you will have hours of practice and preparation under your belt. It was all worth it. You feel ready.

Get to the venue early. Take a look around the room. Walk around the stage, if there is one. Do a microphone and equipment check. Familiarize yourself with the speaking area. Look where your audience will be and visualize them smiling back at you.

A few minutes before your scheduled speaking time, go to the nearest bathroom. Look in the mirror. Look into your eyes. Tell yourself that you are smart and worthy. You have rehearsed. Are you ready. Set your intention to give a dynamic speech. Do one last broccoli check on your teeth and hair.

Just before you go on stage or to the lectern, take a deep breath. Release it slowly. Shake hands with the person who introduced you. Let them go. Then look around and smile at your audience. They are on your side. You have this.

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