While working with my private public speaking clients to get them prepared for their presentations, two common threads around anxiety have emerged.
I’ve watched time and again when presentation anxiety rears its ugly head, it impedes “memorizing” (I use this word liberally because I’m not a fan of memoized speeches/presentations) their speech. The capacity to first integrate their written content into short term memory is minimal and then to move what they have integrated to long term memory is worse. What I’ve learned is their anxiety blocks the ability to learn and remember.
Many clients often share their fear of forgetting the content they’ve diligently”memorized” when they arrive at the podium or have a mic in their hands. I’ve seen it happen and it’s disheartening to watch worst fears unfold. My second observation is anxiety has the ability, at a seconds notice, to wipe all of our hard-won practice off our long-term memory hard drive.
The good news is that presentation anxiety can be managed.
Did you notice that I used the word managed?
Nerves and anxiety can’t, and shouldn’t be totally eradicated. Anxiety serves a purpose when you are a public speaker – you should feel a prickle of nerves before you deliver a speech. If you didn’t it would mean you had little or no respect for your audience.
If you would like to learn a few tips on how to manage speaking anxiety this article I wrote for the Huffington Post shares five ways to dampen down your nerves.
If you’re lost and unsure about how to make your presentation compelling, I can help.