Presentation on theme: "HIGH ANXIETY AIN’T NUTTIN 2 FEAR. Let those butterflies take flight SPEAKER'S ANXIETY LET THOSE BUTTERFLIES TAKE FLIGHT It's been said that people fear."— Presentation transcript:
Let those butterflies take flight SPEAKER'S ANXIETY LET THOSE BUTTERFLIES TAKE FLIGHT It's been said that people fear public speaking more than they fear death. Well, if someone put a gun to my temple, I would speak my heart out. All of us get anxious--it's a natural human reaction to "what's next?" or "will they like me?" So, the first step is to recognize that even the best of actors and speakers feel those butterflies. What is different, is that seasoned presenters allow those butterflies to take flight, using their anxiety to energize their work. Feel a nervous twitch in your hand? Use a dramatic gesture. Your hand is telling you it wants to play a bigger part in your performance. If your chest feel tight, take a deep breath, and speak as if you are in the Coliseum, reaching the crowds and hordes at a great distance. Is your leg shaking? Do a walk across the stage or around the podium. Your leg wants to get involved.
Take a breather TAKE A BREATHER I just adopted two kitties: a black and white tuxedo boy Brandon Poetry and a calico gal Kaycee Prose. Their first week here was something: the pussycat wars raged as they vied for territory and as they each sought to be the best bud of Tony. I noticed a few things: when one cat looked at the other the wrong way, both arched their bodies, as a jolt of nerves took charge. We are like cats also. We tense, and our throats clench when we feel threatened. One solution: BREATHING. Breathing deeply (and I mean way into the lungs) when nervous will dissipate some of our cat-like tension, and will free up the throat. Doing breathing exercises before speaking helps also. Try a few long yawns (not in front of the audience of course, but before you enter the space.) Take a few deep breaths while raising your arms in any direction, letting them drop on the exhalations.
Alternate nostril breathing ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING AN ADVANCED TECHNIQUE Doing alternate nostril breathing really helps. I picked this up in an acting class. Place your forefinger on your temple, and hold your right nostril shut with your right thumb. Breathe in with your left nostril. Close your left nostril with your middle finger. Breathe out with your right nostril. Repeat. Then reverse the process. Place your forefinger on your temple, and hold your left nostril shut with your middle finger. Breathe in with your right nostril. Close your right nostril with your middle finger. Breathe out with your left nostril. repeat. Then breathe in with both nostrils, counting to five. Then breathe out with both nostrils, counting to five. This works. But be careful. You can get a little lightheaded at first, so practice it a number of times well ahead of your performance. But it does ease the tension. I can tell that my cats have chilled some. I can hear their purrs--which means they are relaxed and BREATHING
Drive into the skid SPEAKING ANXIETY IF YOUR CAR skids ON ICE, DRIVE INTO THE SKID Some driving instructor told me this in the seventies. He was a gruff, large man who chain-smoked in the learners' car, and I think it was his simple away of putting things that made things stick. We nicknamed him ALdO CHAIN:) But, steering in the direction of a skid applies to speaking tension. Simply put, by tensing up your muscles beforehand (either way before you speak or just prior to) you are exhausting your muscles with tension--after which your muscles will automatically relax. So, if you are tense, make yourself tenser, by constricting and squeezing your muscles. Tighten your fingers, your hands, your arms, your shoulders, your neck--then work the lower regions. Then let the tension go--and enjoy relief as you begin to seize the stage.
Hit that man in the moon HIT THAT MAN IN THE MOON I had a little league coach who used to have us close our eyes, during practice and before each game, and ask us to imagine that we hit a homer so far that it clipped the face of the man in the moon. Well, though I only hit one home run during my short-lived career, I did pick up something from that six foot four skinny man. Visualization is an important element to success. If you visualize yourself, in your mind's eye, delivering a wonderful speech, with the audience smiling, nodding their heads in agreement, laughing at your jokes, and giving you a standing O, you will less likely be nervous at all while presenting it, and you will more likely hit that man in the moon squarely in the jaw.
As if AS IF Young folks have peppered the decade with such gems as "whatever" and "as if." But AS IF has been around since we were kids. I acted as if I were the cowboy thwarting the attack of my brother the Indian. My brother acted as if he were Batman foiling the efforts of yours truly, the Joker. In acting class the magical AS IF made even the most catatonic of kids bring their roles to life. Here is how it works. If I asked you to lift an imaginary weight, and then proceeded to add more weight in ten pound increments as you still were raising it up, chances are that you would strain more and more and more--even though no real weight is being added, let alone that no real anything is in your hands. Our bodies have memories and our minds react to those memories. We can trick our bodies into living a memory as we speak. Pretend that you are looking at a packed crowd at the World Cup Soccer Championships, and that you are the main cheerleader, helping one of your payers make the game winning score. Pretend that you are a babysitter doing your best to entertain a few sad looking kids--and succeeding. Pretend that you are a world-class wrestler, robed in silk, walking into the stadium to a standing ovation, as your fans are cheering your name. Pretend you are doing what really pumps you up--our body will remember the feeling, your mind will go with the flow, and you will be energized. AS YOU APPROACH THE PODIUM OR CENTER STAGE, PRETEND AS IF YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING THAT ROCKS YOUR WORLD, CHARGES YOUR GETS
smile SMILE When the audience sees you flash a confident smile accompanied with wide-eyed glee, they will smile back, and match your positive energy. It's all about the give and take of energy. You, in turn, will feel their energy, see their returned smiles, and this will put you at ease, and get you raring to go.
Hotel hell HOTEL HELL One of my favorite protégés is a great guy named Franco. At fifteen, he was an amazing talent. But he tended to tighten up at major speech competitions. We were at the national championships, in Dallas, and I needed to rid him of his one last inhibition. I knew he could place top six in the nation, out of 220+ entrants, but I needed a ruse to help him believe in himself. So, I took him to a mobbed hotel lobby, so packed with noisy guests that walking to the elevators was difficult. I sat myself down in the center of the crowd, placed Franco at a distance from me and said: speak; ignore the people walking in front of you, talking over you, and staring at you. And he did. He spoke to me, over, under, around, in between people, for two straight hours. At first, boy was he annoyed, but after a while he got into a groove, and even rose above the clamor. The point? I created, for Franco, a far greater disturbance than he would ever encounter in a formal speaking situation. I proved to him that he could adjust and overcome. He then said to me, without provocation: "Wow, after that, talking to people in a room is kinda' easy." I'm proud to say that he placed sixth in the nation that year, and first in the nation the following year! SO, CREATE YOUR OWN HOTEL HELL. SPEAK THERE. IT WILL MAKE A CIVIL SPEAKING SITUATION A PIECE OF CAKE.