Oh, what a week I’ve had! One thing I’ve learned from the two-year pandemic is that my immune system hasn’t been challenged enough, that is until this past week. I was on vacation in San Diego- the weather was fantastic, and the sun was shining. It was a fantabulous week, except that I caught a cold. And OH what a DOOZY of a cold it was! As such, I have an alluring raspy voice for a FREE MASTERCLASS that I’m putting on tonight. The good news is! It’s over Zoom!
What’s the Masterclass on? TAME the BUTTERFLIES.
7 ACTIONABLE PRO TIPS to Overcome anxiety.
Anxiety gives your speech energy. Learn to recognize various signs of nervousness and how to control them. Below are five actionable tips that will help tame the butterflies and transform your speaking.
- Burn excess adrenaline. When we’re nervous, our body reacts with various physiological changes, rapid, pounding heartbeat, sweaty palms, shaky legs, dry mouth, nausea, to name a few. When we feel stressed, our body responds with a rush of adrenaline which to us can feel like we’re about to have a heart attack or make us run for the nearest receptacle to vomit. Don’t worry, you’re most likely experiencing anxiety. The good news is that you can burn some of that excess energy. Arrive 30 minutes before your interview or meeting, and walk, or do some leg squats or jumping jacks. Yes, jumping jacks work like a charm. I recall several times I did sets of 20 jumping jacks in the stairwell of the convention center prior to me taking the stage at a high-stakes presentation. Not enough to cause sweat stains, but enough to burn excess adrenaline.
- Tense & Release muscle exercise. Tensing and releasing your muscles is an excellent way to burn energy. The best part is you can do these while standing or sitting down. Other than tensing your face muscles no one will be the wiser. You begin with your lower legs, tense and hold while exhaling for 7 seconds, release, then inhale and exhale. Move up to your thighs, butt, and upper legs. Then it’s on to your mid-section – hold your belly tight and push down and back and exhale into your spine. Next up are your arms, shoulders & chest. Then your face, eyes, nose and ears. The last step is to tense your whole body muscles for 7 seconds and release. But please, you’ve also got to remember to exhale on the tensing!
- Breathe deeply. Breathing is second nature to us, right? Right. Except when we’re nervous. Many of us forget to breathe properly when we are nervous. Instead of breathing deeply, we take tiny sips of air. To ‘Tame the Butterflies’, we need to breathe deeply- let the air from our lungs pass over our vocal cords, in a deep rolling roar-like breath. This has an added benefit. Not only does it help calm the adrenaline-induced nervousness, but it also brings our voice into a conversational tone, the exact tone that is perfect for public speaking.
- Practice & Rehearse. Know your message and your purpose. We have all heard the message ‘Practice makes perfect’. This isn’t always so- Doing the same thing over and over doesn’t make perfect. It makes you really good at it though. Imagine if you practiced saying a word over and over and over again until it became easy to say only to discover later that you had been mispronouncing it. Instead, practice for progress and rehearse your words with intention. Rehearse your words OUT LOUD. Out loud. Not just in your head, although that is also helpful, speaking your speech out loud is different because we process words in our heads faster than when we speak them out loud. Start with reading your script.
- Establish a pre-speech routine. What elite athletes, performers and top speakers have in common is that they have a pre-game warm-up and a setup routine. Just take a look at any professional golfer. Before each shot or putt of the golf ball, they do the exact same setup and routine each time. If they get distracted or it feels ‘off’, they step back and start the setup again. I teach a technique of zipping our confidence inside our personal space- stuffing it all up inside, shoulders, back, head held high, then strike a power pose. It’s an excellent visual that many of my clients still use today before they go on stage or when they have a difficult conversation coming up.
6.Capture your confidence. Confidence is a set of attitudes held by someone. If you tell yourself something enough times, your mind believes it. Our minds aren’t capable of determining what is real from what is imagined, but it’s awfully trustworthy and believes what it’s told. Imagine a little kid told over and over that they were the class clown, or not very good in math, or cautious. That kid grows up not only believing it but sub-consciously manifesting it. Now, imagine that same kid being told they’re a delight to have in class, or they’re smart, or courageous. How would that have affected the kid’s attitude. Apply the same principle to speaking in front of people and you’ll see that by changing our mindset can make an enormous difference.
7. Find clarity on WHY you are giving this talk. Be IN LOVE with your message, your words, your story and be your MESSAGE MESSENGER. You have a story, and someone in your audience needs to hear it. When you trust and believe that your message has value, your audience will trust and believe in you as well.
click this link and download my 10 Essential Public Speaking Tips: A SPEAKER’S SURVIVAL CHECKLIST to turn STAGE FRIGHT into STAGE MIGHT.
Val Erickson DTM
The Public Speaking Coach
Speaking Made Easy