When I was 13 years old I had a socially traumatic experience. I was asked to read in front of the class. I’ll never forget that moment, as I started to read I began to ‘stutter’. All of a sudden my whole world closed in on me. I could feel everyone’s eyes looking at me and judging my inability to read. It felt like everyone was thinking “Colin can’t even read, he must be pretty dumb”. I remember this one event negatively impacted me for over a decade.
It wasn’t until I got into my 20’s and realized this situation had shaped how I viewed public speaking, that I was able to deal with it.
How about yourself? Have you ever had a situation or circumstance that has negatively affected you and still impacts you today when you get up to speak? I think we all have our own challenges when it comes to speaking to an audience, whether that be online or a live stage.
So I wanted to give you 3 mind hacks that I use to help me overcome my fear and command the stage with absolute certainty.
Choose to focus on ‘purpose’ and you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll present better.
Before every presentation, slow your breath down and be conscious of taking longer slower deeper breaths. Even take 2 deep breaths now and you’ll instantly notice your stress dropping. This stuff works! It can instantly settle your nerves and get you into a state ready to be present with your audience.
What I mean by that is practicing your presentation at least three times ‘out loud’ in front of the mirror or to a friend and allowing your body movements and feelings to experience it as you present.
You need to allow time for your mind, emotions and physical body to become familiar with the flow of your content so that you will be able to present effectively. The reason why this is so powerful is that when you’ve properly practiced it reduces the amount of mental cognition you need to be present.
If you don’t do this you’ll present in a way that feels clunky, awkward and disengaged. If you haven’t got your speech in your body, your mind will be working overtime to stay on track instead of actually connecting with your audience.
When I get up to present, whether it’s to 10 or 10,000 people I feel excited about the opportunity I have to make an impact on people’s lives, because I use these methods. There is no greater opportunity to have a chance to shift people’s thinking and impact the quality of their life through presenting.
Hope this has been helpful.