I used to have a story about myself that when I spoke in front of people, I would go blank. It occurred pretty often – I would feel prepared, but the minute I was standing and eyes were on me, my knees would start to shake and my brain shut down.
Through practice and the following steps, I successfully overcame my stage fright and now enjoy speaking to groups of people of any size, and project my enjoyment to my audience as I present with enthusiasm.
1. Imagine you are having a conversation with one person. Now make it include the other people by shifting your connection to one at a time.
2. Be certain to practice to integrate the information you are sharing until you feel you own the material and feel comfortable relaying it on your feet. It can help to write it out and then stand in front of a mirror. So when you deliver the real thing, it’s a conversation vs. a presentation. You can also speak with a small group and get some feedback. Being relaxed and yourself is the goal. This comes across to an audience as authentic and engaging.
3. Before you speak, stretch. Also, take big breaths and shake your arms and legs. Studies show that this makes a huge difference in reducing nervous energy.
4. Speak with yourself in the third person using encouragement and appreciation. Only say positive things that your brain can take in easily. No “don’ts!” – only positive, soothing words such as, “relax, you know what you are doing and you know your subject.” “You’ll do great!”
My new story is how motivated I feel to share my subject and point of view. This is an engaging conversation that has meaningful value for you and projects confidence to others.