Have you ever had to deal with nerves during a big presentation? You’re not alone and in this video, I give you simple and actionable tips you can use today to get the upper hand.
The first thing I have to mention is that nerves are not your enemy. They are simply our bodies’ reaction to a perceived threat. If you think back to the caveman days, nerves were there to keep us safe. Nerves activate our fight or flight response. When we are nervous, our bodies and brains are trying to figure out how real the threat is. Very simply, our brains are trying to figure out if we need to fight or run.
Unfortunately, our brains can’t distinguish between a real and a perceived threat. So often, our fear of public speaking can seem very real. When that happens, our brains start activating the different functions in our bodies to get us ready to either fight the threat or to run from it.
When we’re trying to calm ourselves down, that sense of calm is a low arousal emotion. I’m going to encourage you to try the phenomenon called anxious reappraisal. When you’re nervous, instead of telling yourself to “Just calm down, you’re fine. Just chill”. Turn that around and tell yourself, “I’m excited. I can’t wait to deliver so much value and help all these people in front of me”. Excitement and passion are high arousal emotions, so it’s easier to go from, “I am nervous” to “I’m excited”.
The second thing you can try, is to do a superwoman pose. Take up more space by expanding yourself physically because when you take up more space, you’ll feel more confident. So, if you’d like a quick boost of confidence before your big presentation, try your best impression of a superwoman pose – the bolder, the better!
Belting out a song is another possible antidote to fear. Sing in the shower and warm up your vocals. The warmer your vocals are, the harder it is for your voice to shake.
If that doesn’t work for you or you’re still feeling nervous, focus on smiling. Smiling might be the last thing you want to do at the time, but it might be exactly what you need.
Force yourself to smile by literally taking a pen and clenching it between your teeth. It might not be a genuine smile, but you’re activating the same muscles you would when you’re truly smiling. And that’s the key part. If you’re smiling, it’s hard to frown. We tend to frown when we get inside our own heads or when we get nervous about being nervous.
Need more tips on how to deal with your nerves? I answer some questions from my Facebook group throughout the video. If your question was not answered, comment and let me know how I can best support you.