Public Speaking And Entertaining: What You Need To Know

Many people often assume that those of us who stand up to perform or take part in any form of public speaking are not troubled by nerves and that their own attempts would only be doomed to failure because of their feelings of nervousness and fear.

These thoughts only exacerbate the feelings. When they do attempt to speak, their mouth goes dry, the hands begin to sweat, the stomach churns and a feeling of nausea takes over. Very often they begin to tremble and the brain seems to stop working.

In this confused state, they just freeze and yet another negative experience is added to their memory banks, with the certain declaration of  Never Again.

First, we need to understand why we feel this nervousness. Let’s face it, – we know we can speak; we’ve rehearsed and practiced well, the family thought the act or the tricks were great, or the speech was amusing, so there’s really nothing to be afraid of there.

We’ve checked out ‘flies’, – so nothing to worry about in that respect. If you have prepared what you want to say and rehearsed your act well, then you should be ‘home and dry’ and it should be a breeze. I can assure you, if you have done the preparation, it will be a breeze, but you will still feel nervous.

During my entertaining days, I suffered badly from nervousness prior to going on stage. As a matter of fact, I still do to this day. My act always went down really well, and I was inundated with bookings and re-bookings, so my confidence was always high. However, the nerves were always a nightmare prior to starting my act and I could never understand why.

An old experienced entertainer once told me that all good performers, whether in show business or sports performance or even academic or business performers, – feel nerves to varying degrees, and usually the higher standard of performance, – the greater the feeling of nerves and apprehension.

He explained that it’s not the fear of not being able to perform, or of forgetting your lines, (or in the case of the sportsman, of not being able to run the race), it is actually the fear of not quite living up to your own high standards.

You see the good, conscientious performer sets his sights and standards as high as he possibly can, and so even as he improves, he keeps pushing his standards that little higher. You can therefore see why he will never free himself of these feelings of nerves and apprehension. It’s simply a concern that you will not live up to your own high standards.

So how do we overcome nerves? – Well, you don’t. You simply learn to understand and nurture them as your friends and your guides, which help to ensure a really high standard of performance.

You could of course lower your sights, but this would surely lead to lowering your performance and eventually no performance at all. Yet, this is what most people do. They lower the standard of their performance, taking on only the easy stuff, the things they are confident they can do.

However, lowering the standard of your performance is not the way. It may just help decrease nerves, but it will eventually kill your performance completely. You see, when speakers or entertainers get a bad reception or “die”, as we say, they very often never perform again. Finished!

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