"There are two types of speakers - ones who get nervous, and ones who are liars."
Everyone— from Beyoncé to your best friend's cousin—experiences "nerves;" they're actually a physiological response to stimulus. Your body is giving you the energy you need to stand and deliver—it just happens to feel a bit unsettling. So, what does Beyoncé have that you don't? Night after night of PRACTICE.
What the masters have learned over time is how to channel that natural, nervous energy into engaging enthusiasm and even confidence. We focus a lot on how to support our talent with presentation tips and opportunity. We know how much owning a room can help your career trajectory.
We want to offer some help because we've been where you are, and we know it's not too fun. So first, when you start to feel your heart beating a little faster and your hands shake, take a deep breath and know you're not alone. And then, read on. Here are some tips from our team to help you tame your fluttering heart:
1. Do Your Homework – Put in time to prepare before the big day – check out the room, test the tech, get comfortable moving around in the space, and even consider your attire. Just being familiar with the environment and knowing you’ve tested for any potential problems will boost your confidence.
2. Loosen Up – Stretching your muscles and vocal chords can help you deliver a more impactful speech. Try doing a few of your favorite stretches in the room beforehand to loosen up your jaw, neck, shoulders, and arms. Then, it may seem silly, but try saying a few tongue twisters out loud to get your voice ready to go. Varying the speed, volume and emphasis each time will help you prepare for a dynamic delivery.
Here’s a couple to try out: Unique New York; Red leather-Yellow leather; She sells seashells by the seashore; Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
3. Relax – Yoga practitioners suggest another stretch that can help you calm your nerves – a simple forward bend at the waist relaxes your central nervous system and helps you calm your mind. You can also try out one of the breathing exercises here to de-stress.
4. Laugh – Remember we’re all human. So, as hard is it may be, try not to take yourself so seriously! People appreciate authenticity, so have fun and be you.
5. Make friends – Get an idea of who’s planning to attend before the day of your speech, and make sure to welcome folks as they come in. Having an idea of who's in the room and connecting with them, human to human, can help you have a conversation instead of presentation.
Lacey Heggem is Learning and Development Specialist with momo.edu in the NY office.