By Jeremy Nelson
[Jeremy Nelson has been with the Skillset team for four years. He is a skilled presenter and trainer with extensive experience as an actor.]
Ever had thoughts like “They are not going to like me?”, “I hate doing this?”, “They are going to see right through me?” and “I’m not good enough?”.
All of those negative thoughts start to pile up on each other and we can start to feel anxious - which will come out in different ways in the presentation for example: excessive sweating or a shaky voice.
How do we overcome those thoughts?
What do all those phrases have in common? They all have the word ‘I’ or ‘me’ in them. There has been no thought of the people that the presentation is for.
The key mental shift to alleviate the anxiety is to replace the ‘I’ and ‘me’ thoughts with “I want you to get this”. That sentence simply changes the focus from the us to the audience, which helps get us out of our head and concentrating on the people in front of us.
Two more ways to deal with anxiety
It is very normal to have these emotions beforehand and reminding oneself that it is ‘Ok’ to have them, may help. It is the body’s way of getting ready with some excess energy.
Putting it into perspective
A friend of mine was in the car park of a hospital about to start a first time shift that she was very anxious about doing. As she approached the hospital with her bundle of nerves she bumped into an old friend she hadn’t seen for a long time. They got chatting as to why they were there, and to my friend's surprise heard that her old friend was finding out that day whether she had breast cancer. My friend although still having some nerves started the shift with a lot greater perspective on the reality of her own situation.