I’ve learned over my years of experience both as a speaker and a Classical pianist, that fear about an upcoming talk – or concert – is simply telling me to prepare: to get ready for the event. To give you an example:
when I was much younger and more foolish, I was booked to give a presentation on the ‘art of performing in business’ to a management team. I was using PowerPoint for the first time, and turned up to try a foreign laptop in the hour before the actual presentation… I wasn’t even familiar with using a laptop! I became more and more worried during the few days prior to the event, but ignored the warning signs to prepare: I thought I could do it. On the day, I got through it without a visible hitch, but my stress levels were sky high, and I’m sure my connection with the audience was lower than it could have been.
I just thought I’d be ok without going that extra distance to be secure.
Ever sounded like you? Or does fear paralyse you into not preparing even though you don’t think you’ll be ok?
So why don’t you practise, even when you know it’s a good idea? People usually come up with these reasons, or a variation of:
- it’s a pain to do
- there’s not enough time to practise properly, so I won’t do it at all
- other people don’t practise either, and seem to get away with it
I believe that there can be an underlying element too, that I know I used not to admit to myself: practising is confronting. It forces you to face the reality of where you sit with your material, how well you know it, or indeed believe in it: and your willingness to knuckle down and focus in order to get the job done.
If you’d like to begin turning this around, click here for useful tips on how to practise most effectively. Good luck!