Let's say you have been invited on stage to share some of the wonderful works that you have done. The audience is eagerly waiting to hear you speak. The moment you hold the microphone, you go, "I'm sorry but if you can see, I'm nervous right now and my voice is shaking...!"
In the public speaking circuit, saying sorry unnecessarily is like a "sin". Not that being apologetic is a universal rule but once a speaker apologise (especially to inform the crowd that the speaker is nervous!), one main thing happens:
- It diminishes the credibility of the speaker
Audience regards speakers are of a higher stature and people they look up to, that is why they are on the seats whereas speakers are on stage! They are probably unaware that speakers could be having butterflies in the stomach. Or speakers are having sleepless nights before this. What the the audience wants to hear from the speakers are the information and messages that are to be conveyed which they can learn from.
I would suggest not to even talk about your nervousness, let alone say sorry, when you are on stage. Too many speakers are being apologetic, and most of the time - unnecessary.
So what can you do, if you are really nervous when you are up on stage?
1) Don't think about it. It is mind over matter. Talk about your nervousness and you'll be very nervous. On the other hand, if you think positive, things will be fine.
2) Have in mind that you are being invited because you have what it takes to share. So, think along those lines that you have a duty to share.
3) Take up public speaking lessons/ coaching sessions. When you feel that you have the duty to serve, it is important to beef up the relevant skills - in this case, the public speaking skills. There are many public speaking courses and coaching sessions around. We at The Speaking Factory offers both individual and group coaching sessions.
4) Have a game-plan. Prepare your scripts, practise beforehand and follow the game-plan. Remember the saying?: 'If you fail to plan, you plan to fail'.
5) Love the audience. Love them sincerely. The audience are your supporters. They are there to listen to you. Spread your love while you present, and they will be very appreciative of you sharing your messages.
Author, The Stage Fright Antidote!
Founder, The Speaking Factory Pte Ltd
From the Editor
The Speaking Factory is founded by Hazriq Idrus, Asia's Trusted Workplace Creativity, Creative Leadership and Public Speaking Strategist, with a mission to help organisations enhance people potential and organisational performance. Hazriq is the author of The Stage Fright Antidote and co-authored eight other books.
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