We’ve all be there, a big meeting coming, a presentation in front of co-workers, a special someone who makes your throat close when you go near them. Anxiety and nerves are normal when you have to put yourself out or expose yourself in some way. Trust me, unless you’re presenting in front of people everyday, you will no doubt have some anxiety about this sort of thing – everyone does. With practice it will begin to disappear, but how do you get over those nerves that make you feel sick to the pit of you stomach?
Well having helped people who suffer from a lot of anxiety in the public speaking sphere, or even some social interactions, I can tell you that the majority of people tell me their fear stems the most from fear of failure because they fear they are under-prepared. In fact, most fears come down to being, or feeling under-prepared, which is excellent because you can do something about this. And it’s called preparation – who knew?
As silly as it may sound, I’ve known so many people who’ve got a best man speech coming up, or a guest lecture, or something similar, and they’re so nervous, and they haven’t even attempted to learn their speech or go through their presentation. Note: when I had a Best Man’s speech a few years ago, I started to prepare 1 month before.
Here’s the advice. Take a deep breath. It’s not that bad really is it? No one will die, and one fact to remember, and really remember this; it’s very very rare for people to look as nervous as they are. I’ve seen people literally throw up before speaking, walk on, and you really couldn’t tell – and no, the vomiting didn’t help.
Prepare yourself. Go over your speech out loud in front of a mirror, and go through things with and without your script if you have one. Practice on a friend or two if you can. Get to a position where you’re comfortable, and keep it fresh in your mind. Get a good night’s sleep before the day, and don’t drink alcohol or too much coffee beforehand. If you’re really nervous, have a light breakfast but you may want to abstain from food if the presentation is in the day, or have a light lunch if it’s in the evening.
You may hate being nervous about it, but chances are if you weren’t suffering from a bit of anxiety, the speech or presentation may lack energy and purpose.
And after you’ve finished, I bet you’ll feel pretty good.