The symptoms of nerves can be similar whether we present through words or music. Blame that old bogey fight-or-flight. Learn to channel excess adrenalin into energy and you can shine in the spotlight.
Spotlight takes you out of your comfort zone?
Participants at my recent Communication Confidence training day were primed to deliver a three-minute speech. One shared that past presentations caused severe nausea. She was reassured to hear seasoned performers also suffer:
Even Oscar-winning actors?
Dustin Hoffman found live acting far more stressful than filming. When performing Shylock in The Merchant of Venice in London, he spent so much of his off-stage time in the bathroom that a plaque was attached to the door. It proclaimed ‘Dustin Hoffman is here’ and was signed by all the cast. (Excerpt from Don’t Freak Out–Speak Out).
After deep breathing and massaging pressure points, (and more tips below) Andrea spoke fluently, especially in an extempore segment.
Next day she emailed: ‘Yes, I did step out of my comfort zone but I felt pretty good about myself last night when I reflected on my day.’ She was willing to be quoted as ‘it will be good to help others and even better that I am not alone in these feelings.’
Sharing does help!
Now that I’ve overcome my own agonising childhood and adolescence shyness, I’m glad to help others by sharing, both in training/coaching and in my recent memoir Midnight Sun to Southern Cross;
(That’s me on the left, in front of purgatory Ironside State School. I write how dreaded headmaster Mr. Murray petrified me–and others including Alan Jones!)
When I now coach people to boost their confidence in presentations, I can say ‘The person you are now is not who you will be in a decade or two or five. If I can conquer such shyness and fears, even welcome public performance, so can you.’ For I evolved from a shy outback child who hid in the toilet block rather than face fearsome peers into an adult who welcomes any platform to reach out with words and music.
That’s Granddad WA Back standing in the driver’s seat (under ‘Ruth’) in 1924 when this Migrant-made-good brought his family on a whirlwind world tour home to Finland.
Come to Mary Ryan’s Books and Coffee at Milton. Have a chat, see photos of development of St Lucia and my grandfather’s 1950s Art Deco ‘Big House’ with an elevator in it.
I quote a cousin’s anecdote:
Granddad telephoned in the 1960s.
‘Please come quickly, there’s a woman in the bath and she won’t get out.’ A vagrant had knocked on the door and the ever hospitable Grandma offered her food and drink. In her dementia, she agreed when the woman announced ‘I would like a bath.’ Police evicted this uninvited guest from the bathroom.
Too far to travel? Where can we buy books?
More quick fix tips for nerves
- Ginger is excellent for calming upset stomachs. Drink lemon and ginger tea or infuse grated fresh ginger in hot water.
- Some prevent nausea by wearing acupressure magnets on elastic wristbands.
- Massage the pressure point (called Neigun or PC6) which is located about two finger breadths above the wrist crease, between the two main tendons on the inner forearm. Press firmly or stroke towards the wrist. (Stroking from this point towards the elbow can induce vomiting.) This pressure point is also useful for treating shortness of breath, insomnia and anxiety.
- Massage or press tender points in a radius of five centimetres around the navel to relieve emotional stress.
Presentation Confidence Training and Coaching
Now these books are published I have more time for presentations, training and coaching. Email to discuss how you or your organisation could benefit.
And enjoy reading the books! As did Jeanette O’Hagan (thanks for the review!)