29 November 2018
Why is it that some people are complete naturals when it comes to public speaking, making presentations or wowing in job interviews? In the same situation other people may freeze or lose their train of thought.
There is undoubtedly a formula for success when it comes to public speaking, for winning over the room of people. For me, that all comes down to mindset. I am often asked to speak at events or media opportunities, and nerves are an inevitable part of that. They can be useful to get the blood pumping and build excitement but when it goes too far, nerves can be paralysing.
There are a few simple steps that put you into the best possible state of mind to succeed with anything that you’re nervous about and I’d like to share them in today’s post.
Let me know if you’ve ever used these techniques and what works for you in the comments below.
I don’t mean just by rehearsing content and making notes – prepare yourself.
Rehearse in the conditions you’ll be presenting in. Put yourself under pressure. Run through exactly how you want to feel. Think about how you want to be perceived while you’re practicing the actual content.
Preparing your own mindset is an essential part of practice that we often overlook. In her TED Talk, cognitive scientist Sian Leah Beilock describes how athletes invest so much time and energy honing their skills and physical self, but not always their mental self which is just as important.
When we worry about something our brain then moves over to focus on that worry and what could happen. It’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy because rather than preparing the best outcome, your energy is invested in worrying about the worst outcome.
Beilock quotes basketballer Tim Duncan who said: “When you have to stop and think about things is when they go wrong.”
So, one of the most important parts ahead of any presentation or speech is fully preparing yourself to avoid that worry. Instead, get into a mindset in which you know you can thrive.
Following on from preparing your state of mind is the single most important step: belief. When you wholeheartedly believe that you can achieve something, nothing will stop you. Belief gives you confidence, quells worries and helps you to succeed.
Think about how differently you approach tasks that you believe you’re good at, compared to those that you are unsure of. You’re more passionate, focussed and excited when you know you have the ability to succeed.
Believe that you are going to wow everyone in the room ahead of your presentation and you will.
Three deep breaths
Finally, it is physically impossible to be nervous when you control your breath. When you control your breathing rate and pattern you trigger a calming response in your body. This counters the effects of nerves, like butterflies, heart racing and brain fog. It puts you in the best position to begin your presentation.