“I don’t feel too much pressure. Besides, that’s how you accomplish things – you squeeze your butt cheeks, go out there and do it.” – Justin Timberlake
I think about this JT quote every time I get nervous because it makes me laugh. During an interview, someone once asked me how I handle myself under pressure. “Humor” was my reply and it still is, even (and especially) if it’s only something funny inside my head, not to be shared.
The worst is when I’m presenting and have to sit quietly amongst the audience waiting for my introduction to be over and walk up to the stage. I’d much rather be goofing off behind a curtain and make a grand “ta-da!” entrance. I once was so nervous to officiate my friend’s wedding that I recited the United States in alphabetical order during my sound check because I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
Someone once told me, that it’s ok to be nervous. That it’s a good thing because it means that I care a lot about who I’m speaking to and what I’m speaking about. Advice like this came from a great place but I received it in a well, duh kind of way. Of course I care about who I’m speaking to and what I’m speaking about. But I suppose that’s not always the case for folks who are in front of crowds all the time.
These 11 Tips for Calming Nerves Before A Speech are good ones. The two that resonate most with me are prepare, and practice positive self talk.
Prepare: Do the work. Be the expert. If you’re not confident about the topic at hand, prepare more.
Practice positive self talk: This is where the laughter comes in. I actually do this, not unlike Jack Donaghy. No, really. It totally works.
So, that’s my cure for a good case of the butterflies. I’d love to hear yours.