Performance nerves

Overcome presentation nerves with ‘3 Ps’

 What does a communication skills trainer say to a professional who is so terrified of the prospect of giving a presentation – a requirement of her job, no less – that he or she can’t even be persuaded to give it a go in the safe space of the training room?

This was the problem that confronted me recently when not one but two participants in my group training session were happy to listen to my words of wisdom on the principles of effective presenting but were adamant that they could not get up on their hind legs and put theory into practice.…

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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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