Can’t they see I’m nervous?

As you step up to the front of the room, you can feel your face flush and your ears burn. Your hands are shaking as you take command of the stage. A little voice in the back of your head is telling you that everyone can tell how nervous you are.

That little voice lies.

You might be surprises how many people are actually oblivious to your nervousness. And there are two big reasons for this:

1) You’re probably not as obviously nervous as you think you are.
I know from my own personal experience, that sometimes when your face and ears feel hot, they haven’t changed color at all. Also, a small tremor in your hands that isn’t noticeable to the audience, can feel like your hand is jerking about wildly. But it’s not.

2) If you play your cards right, your presentation will wow them so much they’ll never get around to noticing your nervousness.
When I gave my first speech for my current Toastmasters club, I was so nervous I was actually seeing purple in the sides of my vision and I was convinced I was going to faint right there in front of them. I even forgot some of my stories. But when I asked around the room after my presentation, no one had a clue I was nervous. You can see a video of that speech here.

I believe I was able to hide my nervousness using these few tips I’d like to share with you today.

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When Nervousness Makes Your Voice Quiver

Nancy DanielsBy Featured Speaker Nancy Daniels

Has this ever happened to you? You stand to give your speech or presentation; and, when you begin speaking what comes out of your mouth is higher in pitch and quivering to boot. So what is to be done?

In most cases, nervousness is the cause of the quiver. (There are some voices, however, that quiver whether one is nervous or not.) There is a means of eliminating the quiver that works even when you are nervous.

Personally, I like nervousness. It is that wonderful rush of adrenaline that, if used to your advantage, can give you an edge in public speaking. What I don’t want, however, is for your nervousness to be seen or heard. The quiver is definitely telling your audience that you would rather be somewhere else.

A quivering voice is the result of stress and pressure on your delicate vocal folds (cords) and throat. Nervousness exacerbates the problem. By learning how to breathe with the support of your diaphragm and allowing your chest to become your primary amplifier, you will find the quiver disappearing automatically. It is truly amazing to see and hear this happen.

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Can’t They See I’m Nervous?

NOTE: I celebrated my birthday over the last few days so I took the weekend off from producing a video for this week. We’ll return to the weekly video on Monday, Sept. 5, 2011.

One of the most frequent questions I’ve been asked … after “How do I deal with nerves/fear?” … is “Can’t they tell I’m nervous?” And, frankly, the answer really is “It depends.”

The answer could be yes if you display any of these tell-tales signs of nervous energy:

  • Speaking too fast
  • Blushing
  • Your hands are shaking
  • You don’t look in the audience’s direction at all
  • You have too many filler words

That said, you can do all these things and still have no one notice that you’re nervous!

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