As a professional speaker, the number one question I get asked is, ‘How do I book you?’
I wish! That is second:). The most frequently asked question is ‘I get so nervous when I present, what can I do?’
Presentations can be nerve-wracking experiences, no matter how experienced you are. When you get ready to present, your adrenaline spikes, your heart beats faster and your breathing quickens. If there is no hint of nerves, I would worry about overconfidence, complacency or start checking for a pulse!
Here are my 3 proven tips to combat nerves.
- STRIKE A POSE. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy states ‘power posing’ — standing in a posture of confidence, even when you don’t feel confident can elevate your confidence. Try it now! Stand or sit in a classic Superman pose. Spread out your arms like wings, puff out your chest and spread out your legs. Be expansive with your body and maintain the pose for upto 2 minutes. This superhero pose changes your brain chemistry. It lowers your cortisol (the stress hormone) and increases testosterone which elevates your self-esteem and confidence.
- FLIP THE SWITCH. Pounding heart, dry mouth, rapid breathing symptoms? The bodily signals for both nervousness and excitement are the same. Psychologists suggest cognitive reappraisal, replacing ‘I’m feeling nervous’ by saying ‘I’m feeling excited’ instead. Deliberately chose to interpret your bodily signals as excitement.
- MANTRA MAGIC. Affirmations can help reframe your nervousness. My favorite is this gem, from Oprah who suggests replacing the idea of nervous with service. So, every time you are feeling nervous ask yourself, ‘How can I be of service?’ This simple shift in mindset helps you to focus on your audience and their needs, rather than on your own fears. You’re now a service superhero, cape not included!
What is your best tip for overcoming presentation nerves?
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