Tag Archives: Public Speaking

Easiest Way to Calm Nerves in front of an Audience

I love publ320403_10151090611431909_1182712153_nic speaking AND being in front of an audience.  The opportunity to connect with a large group of people all at once gives me a thrill.

Since I was a little girl, I wanted to put on big make-up, wear wild costumes, have big hair, and make sure everyone noticed me!

It’s the Gemini in me.

Even though I loved having an audience, I would sometimes get shaky hands, my voice would quiver, or I would get tongue tied.

What I learned at a young age was that I had to warm up so that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed by the adrenaline rush of walking onto a stage with all eyes on me.

Professional athletes warm up.  Musicians warm up.  Actors warm up.  Warming up your body, breath, and voice decreases the shock of adrenaline in your system.  Instead of shrinking in response to the pressure of being in the spotlight, you teach your nervous system and body to breath through it.  You ground yourself so that negative thoughts don’t distract you.

Towards the beginning of every talk I give, I Iead the entire audience through a mini warm up (This is very interesting when my audience is filled with a hundred managers of a pharmaceutical corporation).

Warming Up the Audience

In the photo above, I had the entire audience at Lisa Elia’s Meet the Media Day yawning, stretching, lip fluttering, and shaking it out so the participants were relaxed and ready to meet and interview with members of the media.

Click HERE or on the above photo to watch the warm up session.

After a thorough warm up, you feel relaxed and loose.  You have shed the armor of tension so you are more open to the people you are going to inspire.

When I work with clients who say they can’t speak in front of a group or they get too nervous, I encourage them to begin with a warm up to see how their experience changes.  I have heard some hilarious and wonderful testimonials after a warm up:

“I don’t give a sh#t what anyone else thinks about me right now!”

“I feel like my vagina is unplugged!” (Yes a woman actually said that)

“I could stay up here in front of everyone forever!”

“I feel SOOO calm.  And I am NOT calm.”

“I’m realizing that it is actually safe to let my guard down and let people in.”

You can try some of the warm up exercises that I lead my groups and clients through:

  • Sit quietly with your hands on your chest and belly.  Notice your body being moved by your breath.
  • Let breath out with a Whispered Ah to allow your shoulders and jaw to release
  • Yawn and stretch with sound
  • Lip flutter (Watch the video here)
  • Hum
  • Hum and shake your hips, twist your ribcage, & bounce your shoulders

How do you feel afterwards?   What is different in your body? your nervous system? your voice?

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6 Ways to Calm Yourself Down During an Adrenaline Rush

Your body releases the supercharged hormone and neurotransmitter, adrenaline, when you have to slam on your brakes, get out ofthe way, or run for cover. It also releases it when you are stressed out, on a deadline, and have to speak in front of a group.

This RUSH triggers the FIGHT-or-FLIGHT response which turns off bodily functions such as digestion and increases blood pressure, heart rate, and blood flow to muscles: all good things when you have to escape from a burning car.

However, when the stakes are high, FIGHT-or-FLIGHT can destroy any chances of effectively delivering your pitch, getting board approval, or making the deal.

Speaking in front of the board, pitching to your clients, or presenting to your colleagues is demanding and can trigger some of these more subtle and off-putting reactions:

1. Clenched Jaw
2. High-pitched Voice
3. Scattered Thinking
4. Locked Knees
5. Hunched Posture

6. Tight Throat – Can’t get your words out
7. Fidgeting or Clumsy Movements
8. Rushed or Fumbled Speaking

These symptoms will also make your listeners uncomfortable. They won’t take you seriously.

Being able to identify your own Fight-or-Flight
Response, and then, ground yourself enables you to communicate your expertise and think quickly on your feet. You can utilize the energy and the excitement of your adrenaline rush to connect to your colleagues or clients and get them “on board.”

Try these strategies when you experience an overpowering Adrenaline Rush:

1. Slow down.
2. Pay more attention to breath going out.
3. Feel your feet on the floor.
4. Open your eyes instead of squinting.
5. Stand tall and let your shoulders be wide
6. Let your ribs move with your breath.

Taking these action steps to calm yourself in a high-stakes situation makes you look, feel, and sound confident. Instead of feeling like you were in a car wreck, your colleagues and clients will be eager and enthusiastic to pat you on the back, shake your hand, and start your project!

 

Sharon Jakubecy (www.AlexanderTechniqueLA.com) is a speaker and Alexander Technique teacher for thought leaders, executives, and public speakers so they are calm, confident, and dynamic in high-stakes speaking events, interviews, and presentations. She has been featured on NPR, The Huffington Post, The Hollywood Weekly, and Backstage as a stress management and Performance expert. Want more helpful articles and videos? Sign up below:

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A Powerful Voice that Fills the Room and Captures the Heart of Your Audience!

When you listen to a powerful performer, it’s not just the words that captures your  heart. The sound of a dynamic performer’s voice can give you the chills, comfort you,  inspire you, and rally you to action!  They have a powerful voice that fills the room and  captures your heart!  (Find out about these qualities live and in person October 25 by visiting http://alexandertechniquela.com/workshops/resonate/)

There are 6 qualities of an engaging and powerful voice that can propel you towards  SUCCESS, whether that means speaking on stage, on a telesummit, or interviewing on  a radio program:

1) RESONANT Your voice is sound and sound is vibration. The vibration of your voice  bounces off the bones of your body and it fills the room with your message.

2) EMBODIED Your voice comes from your entire body, not just your mouth. When you are connected to your whole body, your voice is amplified from your feet on the floor, to your legs, hips, belly, back, and head.

3) GROUNDED The body of a dynamic speaker is grounded which means that both feet are hips-width distance and planted on the floor. This will calm your nervous system and literally allow you to breathe with ease.

4) TENSION-FREE You don’t have to push your head forward and tighten your neck, shoulders, and abdominals to make sound. An attractive voice that gives you the chills pours out of a body that is released and open which allows for a flexible ribcage that moves with your breath.

5) ENERGIZED Without tension, you are calm and the energy of your message can flow out of your body and impact your audience. They will literally FEEL the energy radiating from your voice.

6) COLORFUL With the above 5 qualities, your body is free to move with your breath and voice. This gives you the ability to play with pitch and pace. You can speak in a low voice when you want your audience to taste your every word and with a quick and forceful voice when you call them to action!

 

Watch the video that describes The Voice that Fills the Room and Captures the Heart of Your Audience!

With these 6 qualities, capturing the hearts of your listeners is joyful and easy. They will feel your passion and joy and join your movement.

To OWN THE ROOM and CAPTIVATE THE HEARTS OF YOUR AUDIENCE sign up for the next RESONATE workshop October 25 at http://alexandertechniquela.com/workshops/resonate/