Powerful but Easy to Follow Speaker Strategies for Not Letting Nerves and Fear Take Over
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Do fears and nerves take over you when you get in front of an audience?
You are NOT alone! Do you know that public speaking is one of the most common fears in the world?
Whether you are talking to your colleagues, your prospect clients, people on social media or in-person live audiences, it is normal to feel fear and nerves.
However, you don’t really want your fear and nerves to completely overcome you. This won’t serve you or your audience.
Due to my years of speaking in front of huge audiences worldwide --- parliament members, big conferences, CEOs, TEDx, speech contests etc., I have had to learn the art of overcoming my nerves and fears to ace every audience interaction.
How did I do it? I would like to share THREE STRATEGIES that have been a part of my journey to master this, plus a golden strategy that I will share at the end of this article to support you to become a truly confident and inspiring speaker.
Let’s get started.
Give yourself the time to do Mindful Forecasting
You have the powerful ability to tap into a wide range of emotions throughout different parts of your presentation or speech in order to convey your message more effectively.
This process benefits not only you, by shifting you out of fear and nerves and into intention, but also your audience as you are delivering your message and value.
This powerful ability is enhanced when you mindfully forecast what those emotions will be before you even get up on stage (whatever your stage is).
So, ask yourself: “How do I want to feel in different phases of my presentation?”
“How do I want to feel when I first connect to my audience?”
“How do I want to feel when I share the story?”
“How do I want to feel when I am sharing the key take-aways?”
This process is Mindful Forecasting.
When we are conscious of what we would want to feel across our presentation or speech, we connect to our intentions of the message proactively instead of being reactive.
In doing so, we can mindfully forecast what the emotions feel like and tap into them throughout. If it’s joy, think of what it sounds and looks like to be joyful. Connect to that emotion and remember what it feels like, connect to past memories and experiences of when you were joyful. Therefore, when you reach that point in your talk, you’ll know how to respond.
Think, “Okay, in that part of my speech, I’m going to bring that emotion.”
This is being mindful and conscious about the different emotions you want to have during your presentation, which shifts you away from fear and nerves. It then becomes less about reaction and more about PROACTION.
Tap into Rest and Digest Mode
Ever felt your Freeze or Flight Response take over? Yes? Well my guess is, that’s not what you probably want happening when delivering your presentation or speech.
To feel as though you are being forced or backed into speaking in front of your audience will take away the presence, focus and ability to serve them. Therefore, the Freeze or Flight Response is probably not the way to go.
What you probably want to experience is to talk in peace, to be in a state of “Rest and Digest” throughout your talk. In order to connect to this restful and peaceful base state, there’s a special technique I would love to share with you.
Firstly, remember what Brendon Burchard explains, “Common sense is not always common practice”. Therefore, even if you have heard a variation of this technique before, if you haven’t been artively doing it, I invite you to be open to giving it a proper go.
So, what is it? How can we calm our body and mind? How can we free our mind from the unnecessary stress and pressure we impose on ourselves?
We connect to our: breath.
One of our most important skills and resources.
Specifically, we can do FOUR-SECOND BOX BREATHING. This means breathing in for four seconds, holding our breath for four seconds, breathing out for four seconds, and holding empty for four seconds. Repeat this cycle as many times as needed, and feel the pressure lessen and lessen.
You can tap into any emotion you choose through mindful forecasting, while still remaining a baseline of calm and peace underneath through your breath.
So, calm your mind and your thoughts. Deliver a kick-a** presentation, talk or speech.
Activate the Celebration Anchor Technique
“I’m excited!” vs. “I’m petrified”
Send the right message to your brain by feeding it with nourishing thoughts.
Connect to the thoughts of “after”. Anchor the feeling that comes after you finish something important and keep connecting to it consciously whenever it happens. This technique allows you to build and connect yourself to the feeling of celebration.
So, before you speak in front of your audience, think about and anchor how you will feel after you received their applause, or when you run over to your partner after to give them a hug, or gaining a high-five from your friends, or when everyone says, “Yes! You did awesome! Well done! Thank you for all of the value.”
Think of the feeling of relief, successful release, the feeling of contribution, and the feeling of achievement after finishing something you were previously nervous about. This shifts your energy and language to “I’m excited” instead of “I’m petrified”. Satisfying feeling right?
Setting up the right tone and vision for your mind makes you even more present and effective. So, keep sending the right message to your brain and anchor the “after” celebration throughout your presentation or speech.
Yay! Now, if you have read this far, I know you are excited to learn my GOLDEN STRATEGY that saved me multiple times already from being overcome by fear and nerves, and helped me to ace every presentation and speech I delivered.
Golden Bonus Strategy
If you are feeling the fear and nerves creep in, it is time to get up and act and feel like you are ready to rock that stage!
This means, move and stretch your body, dance, sway, allow the energy to shift. Hold a confident pose like the Superhero Pose, and smile as you do this.
Especially when waiting for your turn on stage (whatever your stage is), try not to sit on the chair and hunch over. The last thing you want to do is send a signal of low confidence to your brain by holding a hunched over posture. Stand up if you can and open your up body so that it is ready to take on the stage.
Walk around. Get your body in motion. Dance. Open yourself up.
Feel like you are ready to take it on!
Let you mind and body know, you’ve got this!
Woohoo! These three powerful yet simple steps, plus the golden strategy, helped me experience successful presentations and speeches all around the world.
Now, you can have that success too!
Have any other challenges you would like help with the solution on? Feel free to reach out to me at www.jodydontje.com/connect and share your challenges.
As always, I'm here to serve.
Remember, every day you have a choice:
You can choose to be ordinary, or as Denise Burchard explains “YOU CAN CHOOSE TO BE EXTRAORDINARY”.
So, go out there and choose to be EXTRAORDINARY.
Be Brave. Be Vulnerable. Be Kind.
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Global Public Speaking and Emotional Fitness Coach. Tedx Talk Speaker. Humanitarian.