Side note before we start: I’ve written this training as though you’re going to make a presentation – because that’s what most people are frightened of… But the principles apply to any “high pressure” situation such as asking for a rise, inviting someone on a date… you name it!
First things first, nerves are normal. They show you care. The only reason I can think of for not being nervous is if I simply don’t care about the audience or my message to them. If that’s the case, why would I be making the presentation?!
For almost all of the groups of people I train, when I ask for a show of hands about “Who wants me to spend some time looking at the various tools for controlling nerves?” the response is more or less universal. Of the few who don’t put their hands up, a very rare few have been jerks. The vast majority have been people who came to me afterwards, or over a tea break, and said that not only were they nervous, but they were so nervous they didn’t want to put their hand up.
If you’re old enough to remember Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, let me quote the front cover here and say, clearly “Don’t Panic“.
In the pages that follow there are lots of tools for dealing with the butterflies of performance anxiety; before you work your way through them, allow me to give you some reassurance about how well they work.
How useful are these tools? Well the personal confession I’ve recorded here will give you an indication of how far I’ve come – just using these tools…
Not long ago I was recorded by Dave Algeo, Stressed Guru, talking about how I fell off the stage with nerves. We chatted in a cafe about how I fell off the stage and a variety of tools. Some of them are included in this course… 🙂
Caution: while the language isn’t particularly bad, we were chatting informally in a cafe…