We all know who they are. They’re the speakers who love to get up in front of a group and dazzle everyone with their knowledge and expertise. They have just the right stories, mannerisms, and power point technique. They seem to be completely comfortable in front of the audience, certainly not white knuckling it through their presentations. Of course, we’d like to be like them.
However, often when it comes time to think about giving a talk in front of 10 or more people, suddenly we feel weak as a jellyfish. Our breathing becomes panicky and erratic, legs feel wobbly, brain just won't seem to focus, and we contemplate the choice between fight or flight, feeling like a fly caught in a spider’s web.
Many speakers feel perfectly comfortable thinking about their presentation. They're convinced they're ready to wow the crowd, but then, at the very last minute, say an hour or less before they actually have to deliver the goods, a wave of insecurity washes over them and they feel very much akin to a pot of limp noodles. Their legs turn to rubber, their eyesight gets fuzzy, their hearts start to pound as they break out in a sweat, and they know, they absolutely know they can't go through with it. They're going to collapse mid-speech into a puddle of failure.
These feelings of abnormal physical weakness before giving a speech are astonishingly common. Even experienced speakers get them now and then. There are any number of reasons why irrational fears plague us at the most inconvenient moments. The question is what can we do about them right now, this minute, when we have to be brilliant in front of an audience? Here's one solution.
Take several deep breaths. Now, think like a racehorse!
Imagine a sleek, strong, powerful, running machine, at the gate, chomping at the bit, ready to get out there and dominate the pack! All that power and energy is totally focused on one thing, out-running all the other horses to be the first one at the finish line. Does the racehorse think about how nervous he is? Probably not. He knows what he's there to do, he's trained and ready to do it, and he's totally focused on winning.
You know what you're there to do, you're trained and ready, all you need to do now is focus on winning!
Inside you is the power, the energy and the stamina of a racehorse. You have planned your presentation, rehearsed it, and you're ready to drive through to the end and come out on top!
When that irrational fear appears, take a deep breath and think of all that power pounding down the track to the finish line. That's you, leading the pack!
You are the racehorse. You'll have all the confidence you need when you harness your powerful energy and let your passion run!