Updated: Feb 25
Change the story & reduce the nerves.
We are all master storytellers (even if you don’t think you are). When we worry about something, we can create a ‘end of the world’ monster of a story in just a seconds.
Fear and worry, that’s all it is. A bad news drama that hasn’t even happened yet. Isn’t likely to happen, it just made up, created in your own mind.
So how do we change the story?
A calm version of the public speaking may look more like this:
All I’m doing is talking. I talk every day.
People will be looking at me, but people look at me every day.
I may think they are judging me, but it’s unlikely. Most people will be listening to what I have to say or thinking about what they are doing tonight!
I could stumble, mess it up, forget my words, but so what? The audience will be willing me to carry on, do my best, keep going. Worst case I’ll be like the underdog in a movie. We all want the underdog to do well.
Or my pants might fall down – its unlikely but even if they did, I would live, I would recover. I will be ok.
Every time you hear that ‘end of the world’ voice in your head, if you can gently replace the drama story with a calm more realistic story, you will naturally find your nervousness losing power as well.
My worst every comedy gig. I had a whole 10 minutes of silence, not a single laugh. The only laugh I got that night was when I said to the audience, this isn’t going very well is it!
I forced myself to go and talk to the audience at the end of the show, I thanked them all for laughing, just once!
What I realised after talking to the audience is they weren’t that bothered about me, my name and my absolutely stunningly crap performance would have been forgotten within hours.
So if you are nervous, put each worry, each made up scenario in perspective.
Fear is just a story. And you can have the power to change the story. You are the author.
If you can change the story in the weeks, days and hours before you stand up and speak, your new calm story will be so much more effective.
My story goes something like this.
“It is an absolute privilege to get the chance to speak. It’s exciting that people feel I have got something of interest to share. There is nowhere I would rather be in the world than on stage speaking right now”.
The more I repeat it, the stronger it gets, the better my speaking becomes and best of all, the nerves just seem to leave of their own accord.
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