Nervous when you speak?
Me too. Every time.
Mark Twain once said that “There are two types of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.”
Here is the thing. Everyone gets nervous when they speak. The difference between average speakers and great ones is whether or not they let their nerves overwhelm them. The word nervous actually comes from the Latin word meaning 'vigorous'. Vigorous means strong, healthy and full of energy! The best speakers understand that nerves are the body's response telling us “I'm ready to go!!”
And now you're thinking, “That's all fine and good, but that knowledge doesn't help me when I'm on the stage!!”
Okay, here are 3 strategies that will...
Soar from the Start: Use the beginning of your speech to your advantage. Many speakers rush right into their first words. DON'T do this. Be silent for the first few seconds. Smile. Make eye contact with as many people in the room as possible. Be TOTALLY present and aware at this moment. Breathe. Then speak.
It will make a huge difference.
Acceptance is also key. Accept that your speech may not be perfect. Remember that people aren't looking for perfection, they are looking for connection. When you practice your speech, you may be tempted to start over when you make a mistake. Don't do this. Accept mistakes in practice and flow through them to the end of your speech. That way, if you make a mistake when you are 'live', you will have the benefit of 'imperfection practice' and will not get hung up on what you made a mistake on. And if you miss something, who cares? Chances are, you are the ONLY one who knows what you missed.
We are WAY too hard on ourselves. Stop being your own worst critic. Accept yourself, your message, and your delivery, regardless of how it comes out.
Take these words to heart: Awareness, Acceptance, Audience.
Most people let their fear debilitate them and their nerves stop them from speaking up. That is just plain selfish. YOU have a message – a story – that the world needs to hear. So speak up, reach out, and forget your nerves.
Feel the fear...and do it anyways.
I would love to know your thoughts on this article. Has it been helpful for you? What can you apply from this? How else can I help you overcome your nerves?
Please leave a comment below, and Share this with those Speakers you know who battle nervousness!!
Kwesi Millington helps speakers, presenters and youth to connect with their audiences and master their messages using the power of storytelling in their speeches & presentations. He is a Certified Public Speaking Coach & Youth Mentor.