Twain was right. Almost all people we meet are at least a little nervous—on the inside—every time they get up in front of a group. And some are VERY nervous. But there are ways to overcome those feelings, and your friends at EMS are always here to help.
We’ve met quite a few of those VERY nervous people. Here’s one thing they express—that they feel intimidated when they watch other speakers who appear to be comfortable and confident. The key word is “appear.”
We all have voices in our heads. Sometimes those voices are positive, providing encouragement and inspiration. Other times, those voices provide negative self-talk, highlighting our insecurities, anxieties, and sometimes even panic. When we see other speakers who don’t APPEAR to show any signs of alarm or nerves, we assume that they don’t FEEL any of those fears.
For those who struggle with extreme nervousness, comparing your “insides” to other peoples’ “outsides” isn’t really fair. Measuring your inner rumblings of “queasiness” against someone else’s outer appearances of strength and confidence compounds fear with a feeling of aloneness, as if you’re the only one struggling with it. But insides-to-outsides is never a fair comparison; nor is it helpful or productive if you want to succeed as a presenter.
We have worked with many clients who come to us claiming to be so nervous that they don’t think they can stand up in front of a group without everyone seeing their terror. Some find comfort in Twain’s quote, recognizing that nervousness is indeed both common and normal. Most everyone struggles with some butterflies. That’s the nature of putting ourselves out there and taking risks.
Our advice: make ENERGY your new best friend. To beat nervousness and get your adrenaline pumping, we encourage presenters to bring that energy—more than you think you’ll need—to the podium along with your notes. Speak a little louder, make bigger gestures, walk around the room with purpose, look directly into the eyes of your audience, and smile, even if you don’t feel like it. We call energy “the great mask,” because it helps to shield nervousness and insecurities from your audience.
But energy is more than a mask—energy literally helps presenters through fear and enables us all to communicate our expertise and our passion. That’s why many people share that their nervousness tends to dissipate quickly once they start to speak. Energy will help you learn to trust your abilities and your ideas, and lessen your fears.
So don’t get stuck comparing your inner feelings to your colleagues’ outer appearances. When it’s your turn to speak, let the energy flow—you’ll like the results.