Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

So simple, so effective. This works really well for many trainees, especially if they're a little nervous.

Scroll back through your life memories and milestones. Look for an event that made you feel absolutely terrific. An achievement? That first kiss?  A birth?  Won a prize? Overcame a fear?  Choose a moment when you felt in control and you were 'walking on air'. Don't tell me you don't have such a memory - we all have them. For me, it's the moment when - after months of preparation - I first headed our yacht out to sea.

Now, modern science tells us that our thoughts and our bio-chemistry are strongly linked.  Every thought you have modifies the mix of chemicals cascading continuously through your body. Mind affects body. And the reverse - body affects mind.  

Here's what to do. Just before you go in front of the audience:

Fix that wonderful moment in your mind. Focus on it so vividly that you feel it in your stomach. Wallow in that feeling for a full minute, the strength of your remembered feelings are the magic ingredient here.

Now, step out in front of your audience, riding that feeling. You're using your mind to influence your body, which influences your mind.  Neat.

Was it a racy memory? If anyone compliments you the way you spoke, tell them that your secret can never be revealed to the world :-)

 

Interested in a workshop on presentation skills to help your team become confident, engaging speakers?

This is for those who are seriously affected by the symptoms of public speaking, presentations or simply speaking up at a meeting.  Sweaty brow? Heart thumping in your throat? Thoughts like I don't belong here ?  It can be painful and debilitating. Worse, the audience can see and hear that your main message is not the topic, it's I don't want to be here speaking to you. You get sympathy, but no credibility. 

Is that you? Stay with me.

You can't cancel fear directly. What you can do is overwhelm it with something way more powerful and productive.  But first a quick question; do you want the audience to get the message in your topic?  You do?  You really do? Good, because there lies the solution:

Make it obvious to the audience that you want them to get the message in your topic.

Obvious? How?

Firm up your voice. Be more emphatic, and - above all - look around at people more urgently. You might raise your eyebrows a little. You might give little nods here and there. Your expression makes it obvious that your top priority right now is your message and them. It's not about you.  Yes, it's an act at first - an act that quickly becomes real.

But why does that work for nervousness? 

Because you are redirecting your energy.  Instead of feeding your fear, you're now feeding the audience. In my workshops, trainees who put that tip into practice for just two minutes say with some surprise, That was good, I felt in control. Some, having tasted that result, never look back. They just go on getting better, and their now undernourished fear fades away.

Could that be you?

Interested in a workshop on presentation skills for your team?

About Michael Brown

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Michael is a senior trainer with Skillset, based in Christchurch.

He is a leading authority on training in presentation and news media skills in New Zealand. He has special expertise in how to present emotionally charged topics to challenging audiences. Michael has trained thousands of New Zealanders and worked with people who speak on behalf of some of the country's largest organisations.

Michael is a prolific author and his books on speaking and working with the media are in their fourth editions.

Speaking Easy: how to speak to your audiences with confidence and authority

Media Easy: how to handle the news media with confidence and authority

One of Michael's books is about his family's adventures sailing in the Pacific.

Interested in training in presentation skills?

We can help your presenters engage their audiences – whether they are speaking at major conferences, presenting to the community or colleagues, or speaking up at a meeting.

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Interested in training in media skills?

Our experienced media trainers can show your spokespeople how to work with the media so that everyone benefits.

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