Overcoming Nerves

Tell Your Public Speaking Success Story Backwards

Public Speaking Success Exercise Today's post gives you a short but effective exercise to make positive changes in your public speaking. You might think this technique only works if you're the creative, arty type - this isn't true! I've seen it work with many different personality types, from accountants to software engineers to teachers. I've also used it myself with great results. Part 1. Imagine that it’s now some time in the future - a good time-frame would be six months or a year; don't make it less than three months. You’re talking with a friend or family member - or...

Public Speaking Anxiety – A Drive for Certainty?

Public Speaking Anxiety - A Drive for Certainty? Creating certainty in public speaking Anxiety: it's not only a signal that something needs attention - it can also be a drive to eliminate uncertainty and a sense of loss of control in our lives. And in working with many clients on their public speaking anxiety, I'm frequently seeing that many of them have a strong drive for certainty and control around their speaking. This is a tricky one - because public speaking is an inherently uncertain activity. However, if you recognise yourself as someone who's uncomfortable (or driven mad) by your need for certainty, there...

9 Mistakes Presenters Make

9 Mistakes Presenters Make Mistakes Presenters Make Do you want to be a more dynamic presenter? You will be if you avoid these frequent mistakes. I've discussed all of these ideas in previous articles, but thought it was worth clustering them together for a 'common mistakes' overview.  1. Forgetting the WIIFM filter  One of the most common mistakes that presenters make is forgetting to run their whole presentation through their audience’s No.1 filter – and that is always WIIFM (what’s in it for me?)  From the moment you open your mouth, to the summing-up, you’re being judged through this filter, and in...

Public Speaking Fear: How Breathing will Help

Public Speaking Fear: How Breathing Will Help Think about public speaking fear and breathing: this may be a topic you resist. You may think you’ve heard it all before, or you've Public speaking fear: how breathing will help tried working with your breath and didn't find it helpful. That certainly used to be my experience, and I've had a client recently who told me it didn't work, because he could only do a breath or two before his negative thoughts started up again. I told him it's inevitable that our thoughts are always there, just keep coming back to the breath; and that...

12 Essential Truths About Public Speaking, Fear and Growth

12 Essential Truths about Public Speaking, Fear and Growth 12 Essential Truths about Public Speaking, Fear and Growth Speaking in public is a complex activity with a lot of moving parts: especially when fear is involved, as it so often is: it brings up vulnerability and challenges for so many of my clients (and before I learned how to work through it in the right ways, for me). From recent conversations with clients and what's resonated with them, I've distilled some of my observations about public speaking, fear and growth which I believe to be true, and hopefully useful to you. That: 1....

Three Factors Which Reduce Public Speaking Fear

How to reduce public speaking fear; as it's always such a popular topic, here are 3 ways to help reduce your anxiety: A Sense of Control will Reduce Public Speaking Fear Increase your sense of control Get annoyed! Be willing to act The first way: Increase your sense of control. Feeling a sense of control in a stressful situation is really important in making it manageable. I recently discovered Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut and writer. In a short radio interview, Chris talks about fear and control: "in my experience, fear comes from not knowing what to expect, and not feeling you have any control over what's...

What Navy Seals Can Teach Us About Reducing Public Speaking Fear

[Updated 2020.] As you'll know if you've been around my work for a while, I used to suffer real anxiety around presenting to people (and music performance anxiety before that - it was a long road!). And when I work with clients on reducing public speaking fear, I use lots of different tools and techniques, depending on what people present with. About 10 years ago there was an interesting article in Psychology Today about four techniques the U.S. Navy Seals used to increase their training pass rates with new recruits. The original article is here. And because all four tools are ones...

What to do When your Negative Voice Gatecrashes your Presentation

Negative inner voice during presentation - typical audience listening face Have you ever had the experience while presenting of looking out at the audience and seeing only a sea of blank faces? You look at them and immediately get discouraged; the negative self-talk kicks in: "John looks bored, this must be really bad" or "that woman's just looked at her watch again...I'd better speed up!" (which is usually a bad move, as we tend to accelerate when nervous anyway). I Hearing my negative inner critic voice during my presentation used to be an issue for me, especially when I was a...

8 Reasons Why you Feel Anxious about Public Speaking

Why you feel anxious about public speaking There are very real reasons why public speaking is so uncomfortable for most people, both because of how our brains are 'wired', and also in how we relate to the outer world. Today I'm going to share with you some of the reasons why we feel anxious about public speaking. Firstly, let's look at what I call our brain's fear timeline: our initial 'wiring', way back in the mists of time, our own past, and our future. Our brains’ fear timeline Our ancestral past In primitive times when we were cave-dwellers, our very survival was at stake...

Two Great Ways to Open your Talk, Especially if you’re Nervous

Make your Audience Think to Focus and Engage Them The opening of your presentation is often the part where you're most nervous or self-conscious. You're faced with pairs of eyes looking at you, the audience feels like it's one big stare, and you're not enjoying the sudden attention. What can you do to take some of the unwanted focus off yourself, and create an engaging, effective start to your speech? Here are two ways which really work: Make a statement Ask a question Keep reading, because I probably haven't convinced you that these ideas are all that startling or great just  yet! I'll explain why...