Nervousness is the energy that can make you sparkle like a star! – Linnaea
Nervousness is an asset
According to one survey, public speaking is one of the top three fears of adults in America today. For some, public speaking ranks scarier than death itself and lends credibility to the statement, “I’d rather die than speak in public!”
When asked to speak, many people respond with, “Oh, I could never do that! I’d be too jittery.” It seems that the feeling of unease itself constitutes a large part of the fear of public speaking. People just don’t want to feel those heebie-jeebies.
Nervousness, when understood and managed is a powerful force for good when you speak.
Let’s examine two facts about that high-strung feeling:
Nervousness means you CARE!
Any performer will tell you that the time to be anxious is when you are NOT “keyed -up” with excitable energy before a performance.
Most of it is not visible.
When I congratulate speakers telling them that their talk was well done, I’m surprised to hear so many relate that they felt like fainting or were shaking and sweating – and they were certain everyone in the audience knew it. I was in the audience and didn’t have a clue. The fact is, if you don’t tell, the audience won’t know.
Patricia R. Palmerton from Hamline University offers excellent guidance on nervousness. Check it out!
LJL Seminars offers: 10 tips for handling those heebie-jeebies
- Know the room: become familiar with space, equipment, and location.
- Know the audience: greet them as they enter, present to friends (no longer strangers)
- Know your material: practice! Learn how to relax: take deep breaths and do relaxation exercises
- Visualize yourself speaking: imagine a successful presentation.
- Realize people want you to succeed: the audience wants a successful presentation.
- Don’t apologize for being nervous: it may not show, so don’t point it out! Concentrate on the message, not the medium: focus on material and message. Distract your attention off of your feelings.
- Turn those feelings into positive energy: fear is energy; use it to benefit your performance.
Gain experience: do it, learn from it, and keep doing it!
A Tall Tale about nervousness
In ancient Rome, the Coliseum was full as a Christian was thrown to a lion. The crowd cheered as the lion ran up to the Christian bent over him, and prepared to eat him. Just when the end seemed imminent, the Christian whispered something and the lion bolted away in fear. The Emperor, clearly impressed, asked the Christian how he performed this miracle. The Christina said, “It was easy. I told the lion that after dinner, he’d be expected to say a few words.”
I was a Toastmaster at a Roman-Themed contest years ago, and I told this story. Someone taped it and put it on YouTube. Here it is!