Both my mentees has delivered their first meet-up talks and now we are talking how to improve their talk delivery. One question what we discussed this week was: how can I lose my nervousness?
As a speaker and trainer I have gone through it myself. Following two things I learned six years ago in communication training and still use daily. Only later I realised that it supports “7%-38%-55% Rule” defined by Albert Mehrabian.
Posture, gesture, eye contact etc according to Albert Mehrabian makes up to 55%. When I stand before people, I imagine that I am a tree. Trees never question themselves. Am I good enough? What others will think of me? What if nobody wants to hear this? One thing what we learned in the training was to root. Imagine that your feet have roots. Let them grow in the ground. This simple routine will calm you down and also will help you to hold the posture.
Our voice trainer started the first voice lesson with story about babies, who can cry for hours without hurting themselves. If grown ups would try to do the same, they could not hold it for long period of time. We kind of forgot to use the body for voice as babies do. There are many things what we can do to re-learn it. One thing is to learn to use the whole body for voice as opera singers does or to start somewhere simpler: say something and try to locate where your voice sits. Since I speak four languages, the trainer asked me to do it in every language. With big surprise I realised that for every language my voice sits somewhere else. For my native language it was the deepest, around the heart, for German it was the highest, in mouth-jaw level, the rest two – throat. Since then I practice to get all my languages where my native language lives. I also noticed that when I am nervous, my voice climes up. I experimented with it and managed with help of keeping voice deeper to stay calm. Funny thing when I all that explained over video call to my mentee, I realised how squeaky my voice was. Perfectly set for demonstration? No I was nervous, occupied with thoughts and over analysing. I let is go and the second part of session kept my voice close to my heart. This is another image what I use – I try to speak from my heart or not to speak at all.
The third thing what I use is very simple – practice. Work on your posture, experiment with your voice, practice your talk. Practice, practice, practice. If your story what you want to share sits, if you know what is your next slide, then you can react on things what happens during a talk – mic is not working, slides are not working, laptop starts to reboot… Life happens. You can deal with it, if you practiced.
Remember – sometimes it is enough if somebody simply talks from the heart.