Do you have to avoid or manage the flashing light on your dashboard that tells you your door is not shut or that you are running out of petrol? It’s just a warning. Helpful. You don’t need to panic. You just need to take action.
Same for the ‘nerves’ you get when thinking about Speaking in Public. It’s a warning. Usually an unnecessary warning. You won’t die. You won’t faint. You reaction is probably exaggerated because of circuit sharing. Your brain is saving itself by sharing a circuit for something much more dangerous. Shark attack or microphone attack? Actually horse attack is more dangerous but we think horses are not dangerous. On average, twenty Australian die each year because of horses. Sharks seldom attack. A microphone has never attacked.
So feel the nervous reaction which has come from a lightning fast thought. Acknowledge the warning. Recognise the thought ( as a thought ). ‘Thank for the warning’. Keep going and focus on what you are doing. Same as in the car. Thanks for the warning. I will get some petrol soon. Thanks for the warning. I will get on with my talk. If someone tells you the world is going to end soon, drive carefully. Probably won’t but driving carefully is smart anyway.Getting on with your talk is just as smart.
So, use fear to help you prepare but don’t let it inhibit or paralyse you. Assess the risk. Have a back up computer just in case. Be ready to acknowledge that you don’t know the answer to a question. Keep breathing. Do your best. You’ll be better next tim,e especially if you get audience feedback and don’t treat fear more than a warning.
Contact me if you need help with Public Speaking Training.
Paddy Spruce CSP