The Butterflies: How To Overcome Your Public-Speaking Nerves
It may have taken you days or weeks to
prepare for your presentation, and it all could be
ruined in an instant because of your nerves. Learn the
following 7 simple techniques, and you'll defeat your
public-speaking nerves for good and become the most
confident person in the room.
1. Face Down Your Fears.
If you feel your knees turning to jelly
out of fear, remind yourself that fear stands for False
Evidence Appearing Real. Almost certainly, whatever it
is that you're frightened of won't happen. If there is a
real worry, for example you've forgotten an important
prop, do something about it and then stop worrying.
Remember, you can always rationalise yourself out of
2. Breathe Deeply.
Practising a breathing exercise before
you go on will relax your body and mind. Here's one that
you can do anywhere, even in the wings. Stand still and
feel the ground beneath your feet. Close your eyes and
imagine yourself suspended from the ceiling by a thin
thread. Just listen to your breathing and tell yourself
there is no rush. Slow your breathing until you can
count to 6 seconds of in-breath and 6 seconds of
out-breath. You'll now go on in a totally relaxed and
Relaxing is the art of letting go. There
are many ways to let go. You can imagine you're made of
rubber and go wibbly-wobbly. Or you can sit in front of
a mirror and make a horse's laugh with your lips. Why
not lie on the ground and pretend you're floating? Or,
just collapse on the ground like a limp doll. Letting go
un-tenses the body and makes you more at ease and
4. Chant a Mantra.
A mantra is a mystical Hindu chant. The
more you repeat it, aloud or quietly to yourself, the
more focused your thinking becomes. Here's a mantra that
will put you into the right frame of mind to face any
"I'm pleased to be here
I'm pleased you're here
I care about you
I know that I know."
5. The Wall Push.
The wall push was a technique used by Yul
Brynner, star of the musical "The King and I". This is
what you do. Stand about 18" away from a wall and place
your palms flat on it. Push against the wall. As you
push, your abdominal muscles will contract. As you
breath out, hiss and contract the muscles below your rib
cage as if you were rowing a boat against the current.
Do this a few times, and you'll banish all feelings of
6. Will It To Happen.
A quick and easy technique to deal with
any phobia like fear of speaking is to will the phobia
to happen. Strange as it may sound, this really works.
That's because you no longer give any credence to the
fear part of what you fear and so the fear goes away.
So, if you fear losing your place, tell yourself that
you will, that everyone will find it hugely amusing and
so will you. Almost certainly, your brain will now stop
this from happening. Incidentally, the same idea is used
for curing insomnia not be trying to sleep but by trying
to keep awake.
7. Get Close To Your Audience.
One of the most effective techniques for
dispelling your presentation nerves is to take a bit of
time to get to know your audience before your talk.
Mixing with them has the effect of discovering that they
are just like you and not hostile at all. You may even
discover that some people are more nervous for you than
Practise any of these 7 techniques and I
guarantee a lifetime of nerve-free public speaking!
© Eric Garner,
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