Nicola Adams said in Rio last week “I am always nervous…you need that to give you the adrenaline”. The same principle applies to giving a presentation – it is the adrenaline or energy you feel before that makes you perform better.
The problem for many people is that as soon as they experience any adrenaline – quickening heartbeat, rush of blood, sweaty palms – they focus on their fear and spend the presentation battling nerves rather than channeling their energy into their talk.
If you have prepared well, created interesting content and know your stuff, you will be in a great position to manage your adrenaline.
As Nicola Adams put it when asked about her imminent fight “Another gold-medal fight – I can’t wait. This is what I’ve been training for for the last four years. I’m excited.”
Fear is emotional, not rational. You need another emotion to replace the fear – like passion, pride or desire to help others – which are also linked to a surge of adrenaline. Like Nicola Adams, you need to get excited, not afraid.
Steve Jobs of Apple always created his ‘passion statement’ before giving a presentation which went “I am excited to be giving this presentation because….” So that he could connect with what engaged his passion as a channel for his adrenaline.
Try it next time you have to stand and speak. Rather than interpreting your adrenaline as fear, think of it as passion. Remind yourself why you are excited to be speaking to these people and how listening to you could benefit them.
Think of Nicola Adams about to go into the boxing ring telling herself all the reasons she “can’t wait” despite her nerves. You’ll be a knockout.