We answer your questions, Part 4 of 5:
“I have tried hypnosis to try and overcome stage fright, but nothing seems to help. My brain just doesn’t engage with my mouth when it comes my turn to present. Can you give me any suggestions to avoid this happening?”
PowerSpeaking, Inc. Master Facilitator John Warren has you covered.
Here are a few tips to use before and during a talk:
Reframe the nervousness. First of all, the rush of adrenaline can be reframed from “I’m nervous or frightened” to “I’m energized because this audience and this content matter to me.” How you talk to yourself has a huge impact on both how you feel and how you perform.
Practice! Rehearse early, ideally with people who know your audience. If you get positive feedback, it will build your confidence. If your presentation needs revision, you’ll have time to do that. Next, focus primarily on your opening and closing sequences. Apply the brain principals of first and last impressions, because they have the most lasting impact on your audience.
Mind your body language. Prior to the talk, go to a private space and assume a “power pose,” as defined by Amy Cuddy in her TED talk “Your body language may shape who you are.” If you have a pose that works for you, use it.
Breathe. Immediately before you speak, do a simple two-part breathing exercise I learned from a Tai-Chi master. Look up and breathe in. Let your breath flow through you. As you breathe out slowly, look down. Repeat that several times and notice how much calmer you feel.
Focus on one person at a time. If you have a live audience, talk to one person at a time. Finish a complete thought and watch it land. Then pause, look at another person, and repeat the process. For most of us, one-to-one conversations are much easier than talking to a group. Focusing your gaze, you will see your important ideas actually land; and when you see a nod of agreement or understanding, that will give you a boost.
Final Advice: When you finish your last thought, don’t rush off. Take a breath, look at the audience, and drink in their looks of affirmation and appreciation—and maybe even their applause. You deserve it!
On the journey with you,
The PowerSpeaking, Inc. Team