When you feel nervous — your face feels flushed, your hands are shaking, your ears are burning — it is hard to imagine that it is not blatantly obvious to your audience that you are nervous. However, all those powerfully telling signs (to you) are not so obvious for the people sitting in the room waiting to hear what you have to say.
In fact, it might surprise you how many people are actually oblivious to your nervousness. There are two main reasons for this:
- You are probably not as obviously nervous as you think you are.
Many times, when your face and ears feel hot, they haven’t changed color at all. In addition, a small tremor in your hands that isn’t noticeable to the audience, can feel like your hand is jerking about wildly to you — but it’s not.
- If your content is sound and your presentation decent, your speech will wow your audience so much that they’ll never get around to noticing your nervousness.
For example, I once gave a speech that I’d built myself up into a frenzy over. I was so nervous I was actually seeing purple in the sides of my vision and was convinced that I was going to faint right there in front of my audience. However, after the speech was over, I asked around the room and to my surprise, no one had a clue I was nervous. You can see a video of that speech here.
If you’d like to cultivate the skill of lessening your nervous tells, here are a few tips:
- Ignore your anxiety and move on
If you pay too much attention to your anxiousness, you give it power. The more power it has, the more nervous you will feel and eventually it will become noticeable. Pay more attention to your content and delivery than your nervousness.
- Fake it until you make it
I’ve talked about this before, but an excellent way to overcome nervousness is to pretend you aren’t nervous. Like the song from The King and I goes, “when you fool the people you fear, you fool yourself as well.”
- Give them an awesome presentation
If your content is good and your delivery of that content is well done, your nervousness will be overshadowed by your sheer awesomeness. Be entertaining. Tell stories that illustrate your points. Make your presentation so engaging that people are paying attention to what you have to say, not your shaking hands and sweaty brow.
Would you like more information about public speaking? Visit PublicSpeakingSuperPowers.com for tips, advice and plenty of videos about all the “powers” you can employ in your speaking endeavors.
NOTE: Are you a Long Beach based speaker? Do you know of an upcoming speaking event? Contact me to have an interview with you published in this column.