Presentation Coaching

Presentation Coaching

Oh, No! They Want Me to Give a Presentation! Public Speaking for the Terrified

You can’t avoid it forever.  You know you’d get more opportunities at work (and more pay!) if you could just Get Over It.  From the first time you realized your knees were knocking in third grade, public speaking has filled you with a dread worse than the siren of a cruising cop pulling up behind you.  Presentation coaching can be your best friend.

You know it’s irrational, and have tried many times to talk yourself out of it; the mortality rate while standing in front of a flip chart, after all, is remarkably low.  You can rock climb, wind surf or downhill ski with the best of them but managing the sweaty hands and thundering heart in front of more than, well, two or three people just seems to be beyond you.

So, what’s the deal here?  How do people get good at this, or at least convince themselves they can survive it?  Here is the key: when you feel the classic “symptoms”, (to begin with, why don’t we call them “sensations” instead?  After all, you’re not actually sick, are you Pumpkin?) you distract yourself from the usual caving-in-and-falling-apart process you know all too well by re-interpreting your body’s signals as excitement. Your formula has been “public speaking=nausea”.  The new plan is “nausea=butterflies=enthusiasm!”

Yes, EXCITEMENT!  Sure, it feels good to be excited, and bad to be nervous, but isn’t it a bit similar?  The heart sensation, a kind of lifting in the chest; that charged-up feeling, an urge to move (yes it may be an urge to run away, but don’t give in because you can do public speaking, you really can).  These are all feelings we welcome in other circumstances.

So why not try playing a little trick on yourself and looking at this from a different angle next time?  Where’s the harm- it can’t make it any worse, can it?  If you have something to say to a group, consider that your body is preparing itself rather than about to betray you once again.  Professional public speakers use that “power surge” feeling to their advantage and so can you.  Look for opportunities to practice and before you know it you will be able to put your focus outward and enjoy your audience!



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