Newsletter January 06
Nervousness (part 2)
What can we do to reduce nervousness?
If you feel nervous at the thought of having to speak to a group, it is much more likely that your nervousness will decrease and your performance ability increase, if you combine Actual Practice with Visual Practice.
Before practising, ensure you have thoroughly prepared your presentation. Know as much as you can about your topic and the speaking situation so that you are confident about the nature of your presentation (see newsletter October 2003, below)
Then prepare accordingly.
When well prepared, start practising. Practise so that you:
· Are familiar with the content. Try practising each section of your presentation separately so you get to know them well – your opening, the main sections within the body of your talk, and your ending
· Know how to use your visual aids competently, eg PowerPoint, whiteboard, video, props.
· Allow time for any audience involvement, eg questions, exercises
· Are familiar with the timing of your presentation.
Visual Practise, or ‘visualisation’
Visualisation is where you visualise exactly what you would like to happen when you give your presentation.
You could, for example, visualise yourself being called up to speak, walking to the front, delivering your presentation confidently and competently, being thanked at the end, then going to sit back down again to the applause from the audience.
You will need to do this several times over a period of time before the event.
Back in 2002 when I was aiming to become the Toastmasters national champion, I used visualisation along with actual practice: I got a photo of the room I would be speaking in to make the visualisation easier, I visualised walking to the front, delivering exactly the presentation I wanted to, walking off stage, then later standing with the other finalists to hear the results, and someone saying “,,, and the winner is Kim Chamberlain.”
I did this many, many times for 3 months before the contest, so much so that when I got on the plane to fly to the contest, I knew I‘d already won! It’s a very different experience entering a contest when you know you are going to do well – the nerves disappear completely.
Study after study has shown that if you couple actual rehearsal with visual imagery it can significantly enhance your performance… so, what are you waiting for?
Copyright Successful Speaking 2006