Fluttering butterflies, a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, a vice-like constriction of the lungs resulting in shallow gasp-like breaths, <enter here what you feel when nerves take over rational thought> – everyone feels nerves differently and deals with them differently. The important thing is how they are dealt with in such a way that they do not cause the speaker to abscond or hide in the loo.
Feeling nervous is not necessarily a bad thing. I spoke with a seasoned speaker recently about how he deals with nerves before a speech:
After all these years, do you still feel nervous before a speaking engagement?
(laughs) – Yes, especially when the stakes are high. For example, if I’m entering a speaking competition I feel more nervous than when I’m doing and Emcee assignment.
You’re such a confident and experienced speaker. I can’t imagine you feeling nervous. What techniques do you use to deal with nerves?
Well, it’s a combination of four things: (1) I focus on my breathing, consciously taking deep breaths, (2) I try to be in the moment, feeling the nerves, (3) I think about my speech so I remember it, and (4) Distracting myself by talking to other people and watching what is going on around me also helps. So, going from one to the other keeps me present.
I also repeat to myself – “I am here and I am still breathing.” No matter how strenuous the situation, if I can still say this then nothing has gotten to me.
See you tomorrow for G is for the General Purpose of a speech or talk.
This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge and Twitter id is @AprilA2Z