13 December 2013

Those who know me will know how much I love it when I can help other people, whether that’s by giving business advice or by giving someone a hug. As a result, people often ask me questions about challenges they might have come across. Recently, I was asked a question that a lot of people can relate to, myself included so I thought I’d share it. The question: ‘How do I prepare for public speaking and overcome my nerves?’

Public speaking is something I often have to do yet it took me a while to get good at. Whilst I’m not as polished as some of the great speakers such as Tony Robbins, I know that to become good at anything, you have to practice. Think about all the great athletes and musicians. It’s about belief; if you believe you’re going to find something difficult then you will. Likewise, if you believe that you will get good at something then you will. You might not get the desired result first time but if you persevere you will get there eventually.

I remember in the old days of UKFast when the video team used to put the camera in front of me and ask me questions. Then they would play back my responses. I remember listening to a recording they’d given me and thinking “wow, there are a lot less ‘umms’ than I thought there would be” (of course, I then spoke to them and found out they’d spent hours editing them all out!) Recording yourself is a good start, especially if you get a version of yourself that’s better than you’d expected.

One thing you can’t truly get rid of is that butterfly sensation, but I don’t necessarily think you want to get rid of it. Those feelings are healthy; they’re your adrenaline kicking in and that’s what is going to keep you on your toes. If you are feeling overcome by fear, you can always change your state. This could be as simple as changing your breathing through meditation or exerting some energy through a burst of exercise, leaving you feeling stronger or more determined.

Just know that there is nothing you cannot do – nothing that fear should stop you from doing – if you are prepared to break down your own barriers and believe in yourself.

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