I have a default advice to give first time speakers – You will feel nervous when you go on stage. The look on their faces is quite priceless as usually their question is how do I stop feeling nervous.
I’ve presented to audiences of 1000s of people and yet a presentation in front of 3 people will still make me nervous. But it is important that you go still speak and feel nervous. When you finish speaking, the nervousness will go away and hopefully, over time you will start enjoying that nervousness.The nervousness is preparing your body to be top performer by secreting the necessary hormones – but we don’t understand that and we don’t have to. Instead, let’s just think of it as an adventure sport – bungee jumping or sky diving. It is scary at first – but nobody dies (at least not in public speaking) and it feels alright by the end.
Acknowledging the nervousness and the fear makes a huge difference. It puts things into perspective. This is quite true of any activity – the tough interview, the application to your dream programme or even asking the tough questions. There will be fear and nervousness – but stop fighting it & start embracing it. Hopefully you’ll have a smoother ride.