Overcoming Nerves

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...

How to Increase your Self-confidence in Public Speaking (and Life)

Imagine that you're looking for advice on how to increase your self-confidence in public speaking. You want to build self-worth in that part of your life, so you come to see me as a client. You tell me that you're afraid of failure (aren't most of us?); that your confidence fluctuates - or is totally absent. Whichever applies, you can't rely on any confidence being there when you most need it during presentations. And you tell me that you have to tackle this problem, as it's holding you back professionally (and sometimes personally). Increase your self-confidence in public speaking I could...

Which Music Can Make you Feel More Powerful Before you Present?

What Music Makes You Feel More Powerful? Updated October 2019 We all know that music can have a strong effect on our emotions (I've only ever met one person who claimed that music didn't affect her at all). And there was a study done back in 2014 about which types of music make you feel more powerful, and lead to "higher perceived control over social events". The study, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, was inspired by the pre-game routines of athletes (Hsu et al., 2014). The authors explored 31 pieces from different genres of music (sports music, heavy metal, punk, reggae,...

Should you Move About When you Present, or Not?

Should you move around when presenting? As presenters, people tend to fall into two opposing ‘choreography’ camps when they’re in front of a group - you may recognise yourself here: You stand stock-still (often hiding behind – even hanging onto – the lectern), barely twitching except to advance a slide Advantage: you feel better because you’re in a safe space (or safer – of course it’s all relative!) Disadvantage: it’s a boring, un-engaging look for your audience, and using so little physical energy  is unhelpful for you too - if you're nervous, that adrenalin and cortisol will 'bank up' in your system and perpetuate any...

4 Tips to Redefine Public Speaking Anxiety

Reducing Presentation Anxiety Do you feel anxious when you have to speak to groups? Obviously you're not alone: public speaking is one of the toughest social situations that most people have to deal with. I've felt it myself, many times. Yet it's also one of the greatest opportunities to leverage your time, energy and visibility if you're interested in advancing your career. Here are 4 tips which can help to shift your negativity, and make presenting a more positive experience.  1. Start to see yourself as 'presenting' in everyday situations: when you walk into a meeting, pay for petrol or buy a...