A couple of weeks ago following the WINx Chicago event, where I served as MC, I was asked a question I often get, “Do you ever get nervous before you speak (or MC)?” My answer is the same, “Yes, and when I stop being nervous before speaking or teaching then I will stop speaking and teaching.”
To me being nervous means it is important to me to do a great job and serve the audience to the best of my ability. They have invested their time and attention to come to my presentation and I owe it to them to Dare to Be Great.
Does this mean I always nail it for everyone in attendance? No, and I likely never will in any presentation. There will always be someone in the audience that does not resonate with my message or my delivery. That does not stop me from striving to always be my best and give everything I have that day or stop me from continually striving to find ways to better serve participants in my presentations.
When I stop being nervous it means I have stopped caring and it will be time for me to walk away and retire. Nervous however, is not the same as anxious. Anxiety is my mind imagining the worst possible outcome. Anxiety is a result of me imaging I will forget what I am supposed to say, or stumble over my words and be embarrassed in front of the audience.
Imagine two people riding a roller coaster. One hates roller coasters and one loves them. They are both experiencing the same physiological feelings, but they interpret them very differently. One interprets the feelings as fear and anxiety and the other as joy and excitement.
Choose the joy and excitement interpretation of the pre-talk butterflies. Accept that the nerves mean it is still important. When you experience those butterflies get them all flying in formation, and in the right direction, by telling yourself “I’m excited to be here. I am excited for this opportunity to share my thoughts insights and experiences. I am excited to be able to serve this audience through my presentation and the tools and strategies will will provide. ”
The experience may be different for you but, for me, when the nerves stop, so will I.
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