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Flying With 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 fear.

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 confident mood.

3. Relax. 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 relaxed.

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 audience:

"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 stage-fright.

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 you are!

Practise any of these 7 techniques and I guarantee a lifetime of nerve-free public speaking!

 © Eric Garner, ManageTrainLearn.com

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