Archive for the ‘nerves’ Category

Just Relax

February 20, 2009

pier1This morning I woke up to see a huge spider sitting just near the bedroom door.

My heart started pounding, I was getting anxious, I wanted to run from the room screaming as spiders are not my favorite things to see at the best of times, much less first thing in the morning, but it was blocking the doorway and I had no way out.

Panic was starting to take hold. I realise I had to stop it before it got out of control.

As I reflect on this incident, these symptoms reminded me of the way some of my students have said they felt about public speaking: Heart racing, panic, unable to think logically.

What do I tell my students when they feel like this “just relax”.

Believe it or not this can be achieved.

1. Breathe – if you’re starting to panic, taking a couple of deep breathes will really help. Breathe deeply into the abdomen as this will help to relax the diaphragm and provide the brain with more oxygen allowing you to think more logically. 

2. Relax the shoulders and neck – roll the shoulders forwards and backwards, lift one shoulder up toward the ear and then the other. Carefully roll the head in a full circle and then back the other way.

3. Self talk – keep self talk positive “I will give an incredible presentation” Every time you start to think negative, give yourself a pinch on the arm to remind yourself to replace the negative thought.

4. Visualise – The mind can’t tell the difference between a real event and a visualised event. Visualise yourself giving your speech, picture yourself being the star of the show and revel in how great it feels.

Now repeat after me: “If I can see it, I can be it.”

As I stood there looking at the spider, I realised that I had blown the incident out of proportion.

The spider, while big, was tiny compared to myself. I took a couple of deep breathes, told myself the spider wasn’t going to hurt me. I visualised it sitting there looking at me worrying about what I was going to do and could it run away before I noticed it.

Once I had relaxed I was able to walk calmly out the bedroom door.

I feel I’ve now conquered my fear of spiders, so I know you can conquer your fear of public speaking.

Just Relax

Keep speaking – Carrol

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Hot Stuff

February 8, 2009

flameHave you ever noticed that some times you’re on fire when you give a presentation?

Everything is going your way; no nerves, the audience is listening and laughing, you speak effortlessly and at the end of the presentation people actually come up to you and tell you how much they enjoyed your segment.

Why is it, that some times you can do no wrong and other times everything seems to go wrong?

I had one of these hot presentations the other day. I don’t think I prepared any more than usual, I don’t think I worked harder than usual, so why was this one so much better than others?

Your audience can have a lot to do with your presentations: how well do they know each other, how much have they endured before you speak, how interested are they in your topic and how well you connect with them can make the difference between a good, bad or hot presentation.

Other things like the time of day you speak, the venue, distractions – both visual and noisy can all have an impact on your presentation.

You, as the presenter, have to try and factor everything in to ensure you give the best presentation you possibly can on the day, but sometimes the gods are just smiling on you and you’re “Hot Stuff”.

Keep speaking – Carrol

Need a life buoy for job interviews?

January 31, 2009

lifebouy

 

Yesterday I read an interesting article on the Toastmaster website. See link below.

http://www.toastmasters.org/MainMenuCategories/WhyJoin/SuccessStories/Hope-in-the-Hard-Times.aspx

It was talking about how Toastmasters and public speaking skills had helped people with being more confident when it came to job interviews.

With so many people around the world loosing their jobs and perhaps having to attend an interview for the first time in 10 or 20 years, I truly believe that anything you can use to your advantage to help you find a new job in the shortest possible time, is well worth investing in.

Being able to answer questions during an interview can sometime make or break whether you get the job or not. Many questions are structured around the “tell us a time when,” where you have to let the interviewer know when you were in a similar situation and how you handled it.

Imagine if you had your own secret life buoy, skills that would help you with the interview and handle those questions.

If you can enter the interview with confidence, speak easily, make good eye contact and provide an answer with a beginning, middle and end you will be well on your way to finding a new job.

Public speaking can help in so many ways, even more so during these hard economic times, when how you present in an interview is vitally important.

Keep speaking – Carrol

A lesson from Barack Obama

January 24, 2009

flag1

Many of you would have watched as Barack Obama was sworn in as the President of the United States this week.

Many of you would have seen this eloquent man, who has given numerous speeches in the past, stumble and forget the words presented to him. But did you notice how he handled the situation?

Barack stood there confident and poised and waited for his line to be presented to him again.

Even the most confident of speakers can have a moment or two where their mind goes blank. How you deal with this when it happens will make all the difference.

The secret is to be confident in your self.

If you need to look at your notes then go ahead, you may also want to pause slightly longer than normal to gather your thoughts together. (see last weeks blog on pausing). Think about what you’ve been talking about and what you’d like to say next, have a sip of water if you need to extend the time slightly and then continue on.  

Watching other speakers, such as Obama, can help with those vital lessons on how to become a better speaker.

Keep speaking – Carrol

Jelly legs eradicated

January 9, 2009

Jelly Bean Diversity

I watched as my name slowly started to move its way up the agenda and I knew that sooner, rather than later I would have to make my presentation. 

My legs felt like they were made of jelly, I had dragonflies dive bombing inside my stomach, my mouth was dry and I was sure my mind would go blank the minute I stood up.

Well, that’s how I remember the first time I had to speak.

If you feel the same way I did, what can you do to help?

1. Practice your presentation – go over what you want to talk about, remember it doesn’t have to be word perfect.

2. Breathe – take a couple of deep breathes to help pump more oxygen to the brain.

3. Relax your muscles – roll the shoulders backwards and forwards a couple of times.

4. Have some water handy – this will help with the dry mouth.

5. Have cue cards – write your main points on index cards just in case your mind does go blank and you can refer to them.

DON’T WRITE OUT YOUR WHOLE PRESENTATION ON THE CARDS.

Remember, most people feel a little nervous before they make a presentation or stand in front of a crowd.

Instead of thinking about how nervous you are, think about HOW EXCITED YOU ARE.

Changing your mind set can help eradicate those jelly legs.

Keep speaking – Carrol