The Key: It’s not about you, it’s about the message.
That is the key. If you’re in front of an audience speaking, it means you have a message to give. Focus your attention on the message and the audience; you’ll be okay. It’s when the focus shifts to ourselves that we get nervous and become afraid. The more passionate you are about the message you’re delivering, the easier it will be to control nervousness.
You’re not nervous; you’re excited
I have thousands of hours of public speaking under my belt, and I have always had nervous feelings before speaking to a large group. I do not deny these feelings; I embrace them.
Our body’s physiology for fear and excitement is the same:
• Our heart rate quickens
• Adrenaline is released
• We get a heightened sense of awareness
• We gain energy
Our body is preparing us for the unknown. (fight or flight) We will use this energy for delivering an excellent speech/presentation…
It’s not the physiology that trips us up; it’s the label. Label these feelings as “nervousness” or “fear,” and we feel out of control. Label the feelings as “excitement,” and we feel in control. We can feel empowered from the excitement and make it work for us.
Serving Others Trumps Embarrassment
What’s the worst that can happen during the speech? I have embarrassed myself many times while speaking: Forgotten key points, fumbled words, goofed up quotes, etc. But since my focus is always on the audience and the message, I have never had a bad speaking experience. I laugh with the audience at my blunders and get back to serving them with the information.
I know when talking, they are not here for me, they are here for the information. They may never remember me or give me another thought. But if they don’t remember any of what I spoke about, I failed as a speaker.
The next time you speak in front of a group, focus on the message and the audience. Tell yourself; those nervous feelings mean you’re excited about the event. Focus on helping the audience remember the message long after they forget you.
When it comes to public speaking, our focus will enable us or disable us.
When you focus on the message and the audience, you’ll have a better experience and may even enjoy it more. I guarantee your audience will.