Dry mouth, sweaty palms, heart racing, wobbly knees, jittery hands, stomach in knots, quivering lips. How many of these symptoms are typical of you before you even walk to the podium? Hopefully, at least one!
Yes, I want you nervous because if you aren’t excited, agitated, stressed, or panicky in some fashion, then I am. The best at public speaking get nervous when standing on the podium and they are not alone. Musicians, actors, athletes, and other performers expect, accept, and make use of that extra shot of adrenaline to enhance their performances whether it is on a stage, an ice rink, a basketball court, or a football field.
The sooner you can accept the fact that you should be nervous, the better.
The question that remains is how to handle it. Personally, I don’t want your main objective to be to eliminate your nervousness because its good affects on your presentation or speech can be incredibly rewarding. Instead, I want you to learn how to control it, putting it to good use.
While there are a variety of methods and theories as to how deal with your heart beating faster, discomfort in the pit of your stomach, or hands that are shaking, there is one technique above all others that offers something you can do physically to control your nervousness, allowing it to work for you, not against you. That rush of adrenaline is not something to be eliminated; it is something to be embraced because it hones your senses and sharpens your awareness. And, that is what is needed in good public speaking.
Of the numerous suggestions about dealing with nervousness, the one most overlooked is something most people are unaware of. Yes, you must:
1. know your material;
2. make eye contact with your audience;
3. speak with emotion; and,
4. believe in yourself.
Each one of these 4 components is invaluable but none of them solves the real problem of handling your adrenaline. The problem for many speakers is that their nervousness is in control of them.
5. The only way to take the control is to learn to breathe correctly and then do it throughout your delivery.
Breathing is something we never think to do in public speaking and yet our air is something we never seem to have enough of, especially during those opening 3-4 minutes.
If you can learn the techniques to breathe in this fashion, you will lessen your stress naturally instead of increasing it. Shallow or lazy breathing, which is typical of the majority of the population, only adds to your nervousness. Breathing with support allows you to remain in control, by lessening your stress.
It is a wonderful feeling knowing that you can conquer those nervous jitters and put them to good use!
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To see how voice training can improve your life, both professionally and personally, visit Voice Dynamic or watch a brief video as The Voice Lady describes The 5 Characteristics of Dynamic Public Speaking.
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