Audiences love a storyteller. Even if you have to give a technical talk you can illustrate it with humour and personal anecdotes. Leave your own DNA on your presentations. Let your audiences see who you are, let them relate to you. And let's face it if you are simply having passionate conversation with friends, what is there to be nervous about?
There is one thing above all others that will differentiate you from others and that’s passion. Many people get nervous when they have to speak in public, but a powerful and passionate talk, given with conviction will capture an audience every time. Others are self conscious about their voices. "Don't be self-conscious about your voice, don't even listen to it if you don't want to; instead focus on the words and the content.” James Earl Jones - the voice of “Vader” in Star Wars.
Even the most seasoned of speakers experience the nervous energy of an adrenalin rush. The trick is to get all the butterflies in your stomach flying in formation. Before I go on stage, I talk to myself, "This is going to be fun! I have a lot to share with these people and they want me to do well, so let the words they need to hear come out of my mouth today..." I then run on stage and deliver with energy, style and pizazz. You too can you use self-talk and visualisation. You could complete the ‘Thought Monitoring’ exercise in my book, "Confidence the 7 Keys to Your Happiness to help you weed out any negativity or feelings of self-doubt.
Presenting frightens some people because they think they may make a mistake or forget something. If you do, just move on, your audience probably won't even notice and they certainly don't know what you have missed out. However if you practice what I call the Five Ps i.e. planning and preparation which promise perfect a performance you will feel much more empowered. Remember it is not about you. It's about the audience and they want you to do well. Focus on them, their experience and how you want them to feel. When you take this approach and your nerves will diminish.
Ten Top Tips for Controlling Your Nerves
1. Be positive!
2. Have a great opener and know your first 90 seconds by heart,
3. Structure your talk, starting with the end in mind,
4. Smile as it relaxes you and the audience,
5. Keep your head up and speak slowly and clearly,
6. Practice, practice, practice as this will boost your confidence and reduce your nerves,
7. Learn to develop an eye contact plan - speak to people as individuals - when you have a conversation with your audience you feel much more relaxed and in control,
8. Keep it short and simple – KISS!
9. Personalise with a story,
10. Have a memorable close with a clear call to action - otherwise why did you stand to talk in the first place?
If speaking in public is just a bridge too far for you; if you really would rather go bed with snakes and spiders and see your smart phone die, then say ‘No’ politely and decline the offer to speak. It takes confidence to say no. However bear in mind this statistic. People who speak well and present with style, earn on average 81% more!