On Nervousness & Anxiety When Speaking

This is a much younger me on a stage singing and dancing in a musical. Honestly, this was so long ago I can’t recall which one. Maybe How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying or The Music Man?

That 17 year old was almost paralyzed by stage fright. Not when we would rehearse — that was always fine, and quite fun.

But when there would be actual people in the seats? Oh my. Hands shaking, voice trembling. Heart rate stratospheric.

Not a good feeling.

I see a lot of advice for reducing nervousness and anxiety on LinkedIn and other social sites. Some of it is good. Some… not so much.

The truth is that there is no list of tips or tricks that works for everyone. You need to figure out what the root of your anxiousness is, and do the work to minimize it.

Breathing exercises work for some. Others need to work on their confidence overall — not just when speaking.

Some people force themselves to speak in a certain style because they think they should, and it throws them off because that’s not their style. Sounds silly, but I see it all the time.

Some people have past negative experiences with presenting that haunt them.

Figure out what’s really got you nervous. Name it, and make a plan to work through it.

And… practice always helps. With a coach? Even better. But you know, I’m partial. 😉

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