Performance nerves

Beat performance nerves for good

Recently I sang a substantial solo in a public performance of Mozart’s Coronation Massgiven by my choir. I hadn’t sought this ‘honour’ but all the other singers in my section made it quite clear that they wouldn’t put themselves in the spotlight, so eventually the finger pointed at me.

I would have had very good reasons for saying ‘no’. Last time I stepped out of the chorus I had been so crippled by nerves that I had to resort to drugs to slow my heart rate, on top of a range of home remedies.

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Fight nerves with preparation

Surveys consistently rank speaking in public as one of our greatest fears – more terrifying than heights, insects, financial problems, deep water – even death!

What this means, according to comedian Jerry Seinfeld, is that: ’at a funeral, most people would rather be the guy in the casket than the one giving the eulogy’.

In my work as a trainer I observe this to be close to the truth. One enormously capable woman I worked with recently told me she had walked out of her last job merely because they wanted her to go on a presentation skills training course!…

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