Do you get nervous just before you begin to teach or lecture? Happens to all of us. Its not necessarily a bad thing. But how do we controll it?
I 've heard that if an actor's mind is allowed to roam free, it will automatically focus on that nervousness. Even Laurence Olivier had stage fright. Actors relax by concentrating instead on their preparation, the script, and the other actors. Is there not a lesson here for us as speakers and teachetrs? Trying to drown the butterflies — or bats, in my case, flitting around my stomach is not a solution.
Focus on the preparations. Check on the alignment of powerpoint or overhead projector. Check out visability around the room. See that every place has handouts, your business card or whatever.
Refer to your notes, outlines, rehearse a joke. But never imagine your audience in their underwear– its likely a very unpleasant thought.
What are your experiences in overcoming nervousness in speaking?
For those starting out, I recommend joining a local Toastmasters Club in your area. They generally run weekly meetings. They have a program that allows you to learn the fundamentals of speaking in the comfort of a safe environment. By getting “Stage Time” (as World Champion of Public Speaking, Darren Lacroix like to call it) in the Club environment, you will improve your comfort level of speaking in front of an audience. You will also get feedback on your performance from the other club members. You don’t want to get rid of the nervousness, sometimes referred to as butterflies – you want to make them fly in formation and draw on that nervous energy to enhance your presentation.
Visit their website at http://www.toastmasters.org to find a club near you.