Man, I wish it was that easy. I speak publicly often, and I still get nervous prior to every speech or presentation. Every single one.
That being said, I’m in pretty good company — it has been noted that Sir Winston Churchill and President Lincoln also got quite anxious prior to speaking publicly.
Unfortunately, no matter how many books, courses, DVDs, websites or snake oil salesmen promise to "cure" you of your fear of public speaking, it is never that simple, or that easy. That being said, there are a number of techniques, strategies and tactics to use to alleviate the fear and anxiety that come calling prior to speaking publicly.
Tips and Tactics, Pt.I :
- Prepare. Prepare. Prepare - Simply put, the more you prepare and the better handle you have on the material you are presenting, the better it will go.
- Practice. Practice. Practice – Once you have prepared, you MUST practice, early and often. Rumor has it that Churchill practiced for one hour per one minute of speech content he was delivering. 5 minute presentation = 5 hours practice. How long are you practicing?
- Check out/Read the room before – Familiarity breeds comfort; surprise the day of a presentation are no fun and ratchet up anxiety tenfold.
- Remember – the audience is on your side- 9 times out of 10, the audience is rooting for you to succeed, not waiting for you to fall flat.
- Breathing - My three favorite breathing techniques – 3 Deep Belly Breathes, Ujaia breathing, and the Alternate Nostril technique – more on each in a later post
- Listen to Music – Watch a boxing or MMA competition; watch Kobe or LeBron prior to getting on the court – always listening to music, getting in the zone, eliminating outside distraction and chasing away anxiety and negative thoughts — it works prior to public speaking as well (I do this each and every time)
- Remember – You are always more nervous than you look – ALWAYS!
Stay tuned for Pt. II…