Newsletter October 05
Nervousness (part 1)
It’s a common occurrence for people to feel anxious before speaking in public. And while some level of nervous energy is necessary for you to perform well, unfortunately a high level of anxiety can undermine the quality of your presentation.
Nervousness often demonstrates itself in two ways:
1. The effect it has on our state of mind. We may, for example, procrastinate, worry, think negative thoughts, lose sleep.
2. The physical effects we feel. For example dry mouth, sweaty palms, shaking, muscle tightness around the throat.
If we gain an understanding for why nervousness occurs, and look at ways to control it, we are more likely to give of our best.
Why we feel nervous?
We give ourselves negative messages. For example, “I’m a terrible public speaker”, “people find me very boring”, “I hate speaking to large groups”, ” people will think poorly of me if I make a mistake”.
· We set ourselves unhelpful goals. For example, “I must be perfect whenever I speak”, “Everyone must rate me as the best speaker”.
· We’ve had a bad experience in the past or we’ve had little or no experience of speaking to groups. Remember, the past can only determine the present if we let it.
· We don’t prepare adequately. Lack of knowledge of our topic, or lack of feelings of control over the situation will lead to increased anxiety.
What we can do
One of the ways to control nervousness if to use relaxation techniques. For example:
· Practise relaxation exercises at the same time you practise your presentation
· Invent a ‘mental quiet room’ you can go to when you need to. For example, it may be a peaceful cottage near a beach, with windows that overlook golden sands, and a sea that sparkles in the sun.
· Do some high energy exercise before your presentation, e.g. jogging, dancing, running. This releases endorphins and reduces nervous stress.
The aim isn’t to eradicate your nervous energy completely, but to bring it to a manageable state where it enhances your performance.
Our next newsletter will feature Nervousness (part 2).
Copyright Successful Speaking 2005