It’s 5 minutes before you go on and the auditorium is packed!
Okay, don’t be nervous. Deep breaths. You can do this!
You do a quick mental run through each slide double-checking the main talking point for each one.
Don’t forget slide 3… that one is a bit tricky. Focus on the chart. That chart will make everything clearer.
Then the chatter in your mind takes over…
We have one shot to make a good impression.
We need their buy-in.
Don’t forget to smile.
Don’t be nervous.
Okay, I’m going to throw up.
No! You got this.
Don’t mess this up.
Don’t forget eye contact.
Why are my hands sweating?
I think I’m going to pass out.
I need to pee.
Crap, that’s my name. It’s time.
You carefully make your way on stage. Here goes nothing 😬
I’ve always hated public speaking. I don’t recall a High School English presentation without that slow choking feeling. Where did my voice go all of a sudden?!?
I even spent one week on the debate team trying to overcome my fear. Big mistake! I left even more self-conscious – how is everyone so eloquent and well-informed? Aren’t we all just 15yr olds?!?
Fast forward to today and presenting my work to large audiences is common. From high-stakes Executive meetings to big auditoriums filled with people. It took some time to find what worked for me, but…
… the truth is… just like Bruce Banner in The Avengers…
I still get nervous 😅
I still have all the same thoughts that my intro story had.
The nervous sweats, sudden urge to pee and that constant worry that there’s white spit pooling in the corners of your mouth… the fear is real 🤣
The only thing that has changed is what I think being nervous means. And boy it’s made a big change.
We grow up being told, “Don’t be nervous” with “nervousness” being branded as a bad thing and something to avoid.
I think that’s wrong.
The truth is, being nervous means that what you have to say is really important to you.
You’ve done hours of prep work, refined your slides over and over and mapped out your storyline to speak directly to the audience. There are so many variables that you can’t control, but you know deep down that you’re the only one that can do justice to your work.
Every day we provide input to and make important decisions in our careers. So yes, being a little nervous is a good thing. It shows that what you’re about to do is meaningful and having work that you value is a pretty special thing.
In a recent podcast, Nancy Duarte (world-renowned presentation designer) spoke of her time on the TED Talk coaching panel. She recounted that the most nervous presenters (those that were maybe not typically seen as charismatic… e.g. scientists etc.) often delivered the best presentations at TED conferences. The more nervous they were typically reflected that they held the message in high regard and wanted it to land well.
So they put in the work and went out there to do justice to their message.
There’s a certain power that being nervous brings. It’s time to own our nervousness and wear it as our battle armour 🦾
Good luck and have fun sharing your work!
Is there a particular area in communicating your work that you currently struggle with? Let me know with a reply and I will create a lesson just for you 🏆
That’s all for Edition #17 folks. Hope you have a fantastic week!
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