'I've not done this in nearly two years....I'm super nervous about speaking' was the phrase shared with me at a charity event I attended, whereby several employees were giving an update to donors.
I get it - Despite having spoken infront of audiences multiple times, it has been difficult for some to rebuild confidence after two years where events like this just didn't happen.
I've always felt that nervousness is a strange emotion / reaction. We're nervous about things going wrong, stumbling our words, making a fool of ourselves, forgetting lines or being super boring to the audience. Yet, the cause of many of those concerns, is the nervousness itself.
When we are nervous;
- We stop thinking properly ahead of the presentation and so perhaps causes something to go wrong.
- We stumble over our words because our mind is focusing on the fear of an audience.
- We might make a fool of ourselves by not watching our...
The success or failure of a presentation, is often decided in the speakers mind, by how engaged the audience appeared to be.
If the speaker feels that the audience is disengaged, distracted or lacking in interest, it can be a real blow to the speakers confidence.
However, the problem is, unless you are intentional about creating opportunities for engagement, it's hard to know where your audience are at. After all, people's relaxed, natural facial expressions are not the smiling, engaged faces we might hope to see. If anything, it's quite the opposite.
So here are three ways in which you can provoke engagement from your audience;
When people take their seats, ready to listen to a presentation, they make themselves comfortable and prepare for what is a typical presentation. If you want to provoke engagement from the beginning, why not start with an unusual request;
'Can everyone please stand up for a moment please ...'
For many, the idea of public speaking fills them with nervousness & fear.
That said, I genuinely believe that everyone is capable of it. I believe that even the most nervous person can develop the skills to manage their nerves and successfully deliver a presentation.
Here are my three tips for developing confidence in your ability to present infront of an audience.
Many people think that having a script - or notes to the side, will make them less nervous. I actually think having notes increases your nerves. (I'll let you have brief bullet points, but not long form notes!)
The fear of stumbling your words, forgetting chunks of content or getting lost mid way through, only adds to the fear of 'looking silly' infront of the audience.
Take the pressure off, internalise what you want to say so that it comes naturally and then go and deliver it without the pressure of a script.