30 Aug Use the power of your mind to manage your nerves

Many of the best presenters use the power of positive thinking before they present. They imagine themselves as successful, confident, engaging speakers and almost ‘trick’ themselves into believing they can do it. It’s called re-framing and certainly works for some.  

Another aspect to positive thinking in your presentation is the way you choose to describe the ‘nervousness’. Have you ever stopped to think that it’s the exact same physiological experience in your body whether you are nervous or excited? Did you realise that in fact, the only thing that determines whether that feeling you’ve got is a negative or positive experience is the word you choose to use to describe it?

If you have ever been bungy jumping, abseiling, parachuting, rafting, climbing, caving, scuba diving, or parasailing, you know full well that people pay money to experience the feeling we get when we present!

And when you are doing those ‘adventure’ type sports you don’t call the feeling nervousness.

You call it:

  • excitement
  • energy
  • being pumped
  • exhilaration
  • thrill
  • joy
  • arousal
  • pleasure
  • stimulation
  • enthusiasm

 

In our family we call it ‘funny tummy’ and we even draw a smiley face on our stomachs to reframe how we feel in the moment!  It’s so clever because it reframes in our minds that the experience most people call nervousness is in fact, a positive thing, possibly even something to enjoy and cherish!

I’ve been known to draw smiley faces on the stomachs of the executives I work with too!  It works — it makes them relax and smile. And by the way, there’s something quite seductive about knowing you have a smiley face drawn under your business shirt that no-one knows is there!

So the question to ask yourself is this: which word do you want to choose to use?

Because if you continue to call it nervousness, I’m not sure you’re really that serious about making presenting an enjoyable experience for yourself.

Remember, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result!  So it’s quite simple really: change the word and change the experience.  Why not do it for your next presentation?

Happy presenting!