Some people love sky-diving or bungee jumping for getting their blood pumping and giving them a rush. For others, riding roller coasters or running a marathon makes them feel alive.
For me, it’s the feeling I get just before I give a talk that makes my heart beat faster. Yes, public speaking is my adrenalin sport.
Although I have been speaking in front of small and large groups of people for many years, I still get nervous. When I know it’s a tough crowd, or if I spot a hero of mine in the audience, those things add to the pressure.
Just as actors say they wouldn’t be at peak performance if they weren’t nervous, I have experienced the focusing effect that butterflies in the stomach have on me.
If you’re feeling anxious before a presentation, don’t fight it. Embrace the nerves. You know your subject inside out. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have been asked to present.
Imagine you’re at the top of a roller coaster, about to get the thrill of swooping down the steepest part. Now think about that exhilarated feeling at the end of the ride. If you think about public speaking in these terms, it seems exciting rather than terrifying.
You’ll find when you get into your presentation, it begins to feel easier and you get into your flow. If you rehearse your whole presentation, with particular focus on the first and last few minutes, it will help you to feel in control throughout.