“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’d rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
– Jerry Seinfeld
Do you ever get nervous before speaking?
It’s actually a good thing to be revved up before standing and talking to an audience. But if it impairs your ability to show up as your best self, here are three tricks you can have in your back pocket.
FIRST, know that it’s a normal, biological reaction our brains have to a perceived threat. The operative word here being “perceived.” Give yourself a good talking to. Remind yourself that you’re not in any physical danger, and that what holds most of us back is fear of being seen.
So, psych yourself up and remind yourself that you da bomb. You’re an expert. You’re not an impostor and you have nothing to hide. Pick a mantra that you can repeat.
SECOND, deal with the biology. Know that your body’s having a stress reaction, and the best thing for it is to calm the heck down. Breathe. Slowly and deeply. Do it with your eyes closed and notice your belly rising. Then slowly blow out all the crazy stress. Do some shoulder rolls and stretch out.
Who knew that speaking was like getting ready for a good workout? Except without the spandex.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, get out of your own way. When you’re incredibly nervous and fearful, you’re making it about yourself (which isn’t always easy to swallow).
Glance at the audience or group and think about the struggles they may be going through. They’re not as fixed on you as you think. So, get out of your head and focus on what you can give them to help improve their life somehow.