How do your nerves manifest? Recently I had the opportunity to present to a very large audience on a controversial topic. While I am not typically very nervous in public speaking situations, I will admit that I approached the session with some trepidation and nervousness.
While waiting for my introduction, my mouth became dry. My breathing started to accelerate. Thankfully, no one could see this happening and I had some silent solutions to use. (see below*)
Some presenters’ anxiety manifest in ways that are more visible. Recently I attended an international conference with a keynote session. The audience was 10,000+ and there were large screens throughout the room so that everyone could see well. What we saw was a keynote presenter who paced as a way to deal with nervousness. He continually walked from one side of the large stage to the other and back. For the viewer, it was an uncomfortable distraction from his important message.
Movement on a stage should be purposeful to be powerful. Extraneous movement is a waste of energy and a distraction. If this is how your nerves manifest, the first step is to become aware of it. Videotape yourself to see what physical ticks or traits you demonstrate. The second step is to find another purposeful outlet for your excess energy – hand gestures, vocal variation, dancing – whatever supports your message.
*My Silent Solutions
For dry mouth, gently bite the sides of your tongue. This generates saliva to moisten your mouth and throat.
For a racing heart, take three deep breaths. The extra oxygen has been proven to help the emotional centers of your brain and calm you down.
For more ideas on managing the butterflies, check out my book "Caffeinated Learning."
For even more ideas...
Anne Beninghof is passionate about teaching and learning.
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