I give talks to large groups of people on presentations and pitching. Just me and some slides. I’m pleased to say that it usually goes pretty well (I’m my own worst critic so I think that keeps my perspective and ego in check). The audience remains engaged throughout and occasionally I say something amusing. All good.
Beforehand though, I usually feel pretty nervous. I know that speaking in front of a large audience is very much my thing, but that creates its own expectation and pressure because I’m supposed to be really good at it. Each success relies on me dedicating a lot of time to my process, and the stimulus for that process is fear.
I believe that the most important things in life are the most terrifying. The amount of fear and risk associated with a task is directly proportionate to the importance and possible reward that you’ll receive; with speaking in particular, I find that the level of nerves preceding a talk is matched by the level of positive feeling I experience immediately afterwards.
Channel your fear into the action and energy of your process, making the preparation happen while simultaneously reducing your anxiety. That dreadful fear you feel before – and it might be months before – getting up to speak is a clear indicator of how significant this is and how amazing you’ll feel if you get it right.