How To Manage Your Public Speaking Nerves
Peeking through the curtains, I see the audience starting to pour into the room. As they take their seats and mingle with the people sitting next to them, they have no idea I’m pacing backstage like a weirdo with my headphones on. My adrenaline is pumping - hard. It’s almost impossible to stay still.
The speaker in me says, “You’ve been preparing for this moment for ten years. Get out there and serve your people. You WILL change lives today. Do what you do best, girl!”
The introvert in me says, “Hurry, if you slip out the back door now maybe they won’t notice…”
And then I hear IT - the host grabs the microphone, settles the crowd and begins my introduction, “Today we have a very special…”
Well, there’s no turning back now…. Here goes nothing….
It’s the same cycle every single time I speak. Whether it’s an auditorium of 250 US Sailors, a meeting room of a 75 business owners, or gymnasium packed with 2,000 high school or college students… wrestling with the “what if I fail” thoughts will forever be part of the equation.
Today, I want to share with you the top five practices that help me manage my nerves and deliver my presentations with confidence.
1. It's not about you.
Fears around speaking usually sound something like this, “I don’t want to look hot mess, what if I screw it up, what if I fall down, what if they don’t listen to ME.” Sound familiar? We get so wrapped up in how WE are going to mess it up that we forget about why we’re speaking in the first place…. To serve our audience. You are speaking to make an impact, deliver a transformation or educate your audience. When those pesky nerves start creeping up, focus on serving your client and the impact you will be making on THEM.
2. Put in the work.
There is nothing more unsettling than being unprepared. Don’t do that to yourself. Trust me -- you don’t want to “wing it.” If you value yourself, your work, your audience and future opportunities, put in the work to make this speaking opportunity a success. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel. So be sure to prepare your presentation, practice it, prepare for the event… and then practice again and again…. and again. Feeling confident in your presentation will help eliminate some of the “what if” nervousness.
*Really want to up-level your preparation? Click here to schedule a Presentation Prep session to craft your signature talk and event game plan.
3. Paint the picture.
While you’re practicing away… let’s kick it up a notch and visualize your ideal outcome for the event. As you’re working on your talk, visualize yourself on the stage. When you look out into the audience, what do you see? What is the ideal situation? What expression is on your audience’s faces? How does the delivery of your talk feel? What does the applause sound like at the end? The more vividly you picture the experience, the more likely it is to be processed like a memory. Paint the picture of success for yourself before you even step foot on to the stage.
4. Talk ain't cheap.
In fact, it can be incredibly costly. The things that you tell yourself are powerful. Make them count. I want you to write don’t all the negative things you’re telling yourself about speaking. Yep… grab a pen.
“I’m going to screw it up.”
“No one cares what I have to say.”
“I’m going to be boring.”
Now…. rip those suckers up and rewrite them as powerful statements that empower you.
“I’m prepared to confidently deliver this presentation.”
“My audience is excited to learn from me.”
“My presentation is highly engaging and the audience will be ready to connect when I’m done.”
You can be your biggest cheerleader or your worst enemy - choose wisely, my friend.
5. Put yourself on autopilot.
Rather than stressing all of the little details for every event, create a pre-presentation routine that allows you to focus on what really matters: serving your audience. To this day, I still use the same pre-presentation routine. This may sounds silly… but I even listen to the same playlist before each speech. My routine allows me to intentionally complete specific tasks that help me grow my business. The systematic approach helps me remove the anxiety of “did I forget _____” and just get in my ‘zone.’
Ready to find the perfect speaking opportunities to help you grow your business? Take our quiz by clicking the picture below to find out which are best for you!
JESSICA RASDALL // MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER + COACH
Jessica Rasdall is your secret weapon to achieving the speaking success you desire. As a professional speaker and coach for female entrepreneurs, she is dedicated to partnering with women business owner to craft stories and presentation that connect with their audience and help them stand out in a saturated market.