Whether you are a musician or a quarterback, an actor or a public speaker, nervousness is indeed something you should embrace and not something you should try to eliminate. Seasoned professionals in their field – be it athletes, musicians, actors, clergy, or public speakers – all experience nervousness in some fashion. It is one of the reasons they are professionals: they are able to harness that nervous energy and put it to good use. |
The difficulty for some who are addressing an audience, for example, is that their nervousness is in control which places them in the freeze or flight mode. I am sure you have seen this or maybe you have even experienced it yourself in which you attempt to speak and nothing comes out of your mouth. You stand there frozen like a deer in headlights and your mind is a blank. On the other hand, I’ve had both students and clients who have gotten up and ‘fled the scene’ when it was time for them to speak.
Neither of these two situations is a recipe for success. That which you should be seeking is the ‘fight’ mode. No, I am not advocating that you ‘fight’ on stage. What I am suggesting is that you grab hold of your nervousness and allow it to give you an edge. It is easier than you think.
You need to learn to breathe with the support of your diaphragm and put into practice that method of breathing:
1. before you stand to address the audience; Unfortunately, breathing is something most novice speakers forget to do. Yet, without air, there is no voice, there are no words, there is no delivery.
2. as you approach your audience; and,
3. during your delivery.
Why breathing? And specifically, why breathing with the support of your diaphragm? Shallow or lazy breathing, which is typical of the majority of the population, actually increases your stress or anxiety because your body is unable to rid itself of the toxins in the blood.
When you breathe with support, however, your body flushes the toxins from the blood stream which thereby places you in a more relaxed state. Yes, you are nervous but you are in control it.
Do not allow your nervousness to have power over you. Harnessing that marvelous rush of adrenaline will leave you sharper and more alert when you stand and face an audience. And that is indeed a blessing because you will be able to focus on your delivery and not on your nerves.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, group and corporate training in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit Nancy's Voice Training Website and watch as she describes the best means of controlling nervousness in any form of public speaking.
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