42 comments on “On being nervous

  1. Jeremy,

    Another great post and this series is rapidly becoming essential reading for anyone who appears in public (be it talking about teaching or playing in an orchestra!).

    When I’m gearing up to do a plenary someone always says to me “you don’t get nervous, do you?” and I agree coyly that no, not really. Except I do get very nervous before talks, start to doubt that the material in in a logical order, that there’s enough content and enough humour and interest to keep people awake, to satisfy those who want some ‘meat’ and those who want a small bite and some entertainment…

    Possibly (oh I really hope so…, either that or it’s just me that’s mad…) everyone has some kind of routine they go through, though maybe not in such an obsessive-compulsive way as I do! To prepare for a talk I have to shave my head, put on my favourite ‘presenting’ clothes and empty my pockets. Maybe that’s not as mad as it sounds: the shaving and dressing might be the equivalent of the actor getting into character… the emptying of the pockets is like the emptying of the mind, no distractions.

    I like to be there early and make sure the tech is working (so as to avoid, as happened in Barcelona, you’ll remember, the taping of the wireless microphone to the laptop speaker – where possible) then go for a wander and a smoke. I suspect everyone thinks I’m a loony as I wander round outside chain smoking and mumbling to myself, but there you have it…

    Do toilets figure high in people’s preparations?

    Then I have a look at the printout of my slides and worry that they make no sense, though it really doesn’t matter because I always forget to refer to them when I’m actually speaking, anyway.

    In another life I was a stand-up comic, and I have to say it’s much easier to make 100 tipsy people laugh than it is to engage a large audience of ELT people. Maybe if they all went to the pub beforehand and shouted out ‘go on then, say something funny’ I might find it easier.

    Enough! The nerves come and go, depending on country, venue, audience and subject matter. But I guess they can’t be that bad, otherwise you (and I, and many others) simply wouldn’t do it on a regular basis.

    Upwards and onwards,

    Gavin

  2. Hi Gavin,

    thanks for this thoughtful reply. I am interested in the ‘special routines’ before a plenary. Like sportspeople!

    Yes, I reckon lots of people go to the toilet a lot before something like that. At least I do (and that makes two of us!)

    As for the technology thing? Yes, i remember the taped-down microphone in Barcelona. And other times when technology has failed completely in the run-up to a talk. I get really freaked out by that, and sometimes a bit mad at audio technicians who can’t make things work, even in expensive venues that cost publishers/conference organisers a lot of money. Still when technology HAS failed the adrenalin rush is often a positive thing, and results in some extra special sessions.

    So why is the adrenalin rush – or whatever it is – sometimes such a BAD thing?
    Still bats me!

    (But yes, we go on doing it because the rewards, if and when things go well, are spectacular)

    Jeremy

  3. I always think the key thing to remember is that people don’t want you to fail. Remember how you feel as an audience member at a talk, or at a concert – you want it to be great. This is partly due to human generosity – fellow feeling for the poor schmuck on stage. And partly because you want your money’s worth!
    As someone who reacts physically to stress (skin and eyes, nice) I empathise with Essential Tremor sufferers and any manifestations.
    I also think what happens after an ‘appearance’ is interesting. Think of poor Janis Joplin, who said she made love to 10,000 people on stage and then went home alone.Though not always, one imagines.But the adrenaline down can be quite harsh.Even after a tiny gig,reality is a bit of a comedown, so I understand why pro musicians turn to the Remy Martin in quantity.
    I sometimes find it easier when there are fewer people as you can establish eye contact with more people (ok, yes, with all of them on occasion!) but it depends on the talk/workshop balance I’ve had in mind when preparing.But I think sometimes a big crowd has an energy of its own and you can feed off that.
    Pursuing the violin theme,I had a terrible nervous habit as a child of clicking my knees and could not stop myself even during one orchestra concert when I put my violin down between movements and gave them a good click.Didn’t go down too well and I think that was my last appearance in the first row.
    Btw Jeremy I think 2nd violin as anonymous as viola.Who has more rests?I remember rest bars going into triple figures sometimes,and the return of the section very much a process of trial and error.I don’t know what the Italian is for ‘enter when you are sure the player next to you is about to do the same’ but that’s how I did it. How triangle players manage I will never know. I imagine there are digital counters these days with small alarm systems that can be programmed to activaate as the crucial hour approaches.Come to think of it-is there a gap in the market for the gaps in the music?
    Interesting how singing, stand-up, feature in our CVs eh..

    • H Luke,

      yes, I do think people, on the whole, want us to succeed, and that does help. Nevertheless the fear of failure is always there especially when people EXPECT a lot – and if you don’t deliver you can soon feel their disapproval, or at least their disappointment. And if you start to sense that ‘losing the audience’ feeling it can be absolutely debilitating.

      As to musicians…well I remember watching an orchestra one of my kids was in. They were playing Chabrier’s España (in Montellier, for some reason) and the poor kid who had the big trombone tune just lost his nerve or something and failed to come in (happened at school once with a cymbal crash that never happened). Cause there’s nothing so bad as coming in super-confidently only to find that you are in the wrong place!

      Of course, there is a slight worry that in all our musical analogies we are talking about performance, rather than facilitating etc. But big talks, small talks, workshops…when you are invited and there is some expectation on the part of the participants, well there is bound to be an element of performance, isn’t there!!

      Jeremy

  4. At the JALT conference in Japan last month I was to give the opening plenary to- I guess – 1000+ attendees. I was able to get into the (huge) hall 45 minutes before we were due to kick off. The laptop that had been promised was slow to arrive and when it did, it lacked vital cables. When the cables arrived, the projector refused to recognise the laptop. I had my own laptop with me, so we tried that. No go. Frantic phone calls to technicians. People were starting to trickle in. Still no image on the screen. The Japanese technician was trying to reconfigure the screen settings on my laptop, but having trouble with the Spanish messages it was giving him. A third laptop was summoned…when suddenly the screen burst into life. Then it was the turn of the remote presentation mouse, which the original (Mac) laptop wouldn’t recognise. More calls in search of a Mac-friendly pointer. Five minutes to go and finally everything was in place. And how did I feel throughout all this? Oddly, all the faffing about put me into a state of almost Zen-like calm! I guess I knew that it would all sort itself out eventually – and if it didnt – it wasn’t my fault. And the little army of technicians helped distract me from the looming terror of the plenary itsef. So – I recommend some kind of distraction. In lieu of a technical breakdown, just finding someone in the audience to chat with for a bit can really help too.

    • Scott,

      Zen-like calm! I love it. Actually it IS true that sometimes when you get over the exasperation of all those technical hassles, you do kind of calm down!

      What other distractions…hmm. On the other hand, you don’t want to ‘dull the edge’ of the thing. Adrenalin DOES help to concentrate the mind, help you to hit the ground running etc. And then, of course, everything depends on the first (very) few minutes when you see/feel whether there is any answering ‘welcome’ from the audience.

      I will try to practise zen-like calm in the future!!

      Jeremy

  5. Thanks Jeremy for this post. Nervousness is something I preached against a month ago during a presenatation on ‘public speaking’, and talked about how to give better presentations. There were 50 ELT people listening. I had no adrenalin rush then (almost), because I FORGOT to have that! But just a few days ago I was attending an ELt event in Marrakech and I found it difficult to comment ‘from the audience’. I felt I was really in an ‘awkward situation’. Why does that happen? Well I think It’s because when you’re in the audience you have time to think about your nervousness and remember to put it on before talking!

    When I’m in the audience and want to ask a question or make a comment I often do a silent rehearsal of that, try to picture the reaction of the speaker; the reaction of the audience; anticipate things and I find out that I was all shaking and sometimes I just give up.

    I think it’s also because being the speaker (the expert) gives one more positive feelings about themselves that they rarely need any adrenalin to do their talk.

  6. Hi Brahim,

    I love the idea that you forgot to have the adrenalin rush!! Was that an act of will?

    I DO think yo may be right about having time to think about things`- which is different from when you intervene from the floor. I certainly rehearse questions a lot, but even then, they come out all wrong sometimes!

    But it’s also something, isn’t it, about what we think the audience will think of our talk/of our intervention?

    Jeremy

  7. Jeremy, it’s reassuring to discover others are challenged by nervousness and self-doubt, and interesting to learn how they deal with them. Like most people, I’m fortunate that adrenaline or auto-pilot takes over more or less as soon as I start speaking, but the waiting takes its toll. I certainly recognize the zen-like calm Scott experienced, when there is simply nothing else to do but get on with it, whatever the practical circumstances. But in the past I’ve also suffered severely from panic attacks.
    The most useful piece of advice I was given was not before a presentation, but before medical tests I had to take around about the time I was also challenged by professional self-doubt. (I don’t think the tests and my state of mind were entirely unconnected). The nurse saw me lying on a hospital trolley looking miserable and nervous. When she found out why, she told me to make myself smile, even if it’s the last thing I want to do. She explained that the muscles used when you smile release endorphins which make you feel better and happier – feeling good makes you smile, smiling makes you feel good.
    So after being introduced to an audience, I smile and then begin to speak. It makes you look better than you probably feel too, and sooner or later you’ll better too.
    It’s obvious when you think about it, and many people must smile without thinking. But performance anxiety is when you’re either in not quite enough, or in too much, control.
    Oh, but I still can’t ask questions from the floor.

    • Hi Simon,

      so Zen-like calm when things go really wrong! A smile if not.

      It is something about being ‘in control’, as you say. But I still don’t get the shaky legs, the shaky wrist etc. Especially when your brain is telling you how silly it it!

      The questions from the floor problem is a real issue though, isn’t it. How strange that we all seem to become anxious when that happens!

      Thanks for commetning.

      Jeremy

  8. Hi there

    Yes, we all suffer from this in one way or another.

    In recent years, I’ve focused much more on the technical aspects of presentation, partly through studying NLP, but also other disciplines. Personally, I’ve found that learning to master the technical stuff has helped me enormously. The ‘effective opening’ in which you can hook the audience through a powerful story, image, metaphor and establish rapport with them, is particularly helpful as it calms your nerves once you ‘grab’ the audience. But also understanding the scaffolding behind a presentation really helps. (By the way I really recommend ‘Presenting Magically’ by Tad James and David Shephard)

    That’s not to say that I don’t suffer from nerves- of course I do- but that I’m learning what I need to be able to deal with them.

    • Hi Sue,

      thanks for commenting.

      I agree completely that the ‘scaffolding’ of a talk is really vital if you are to offer it with any confidence.

      I remember going to a workshop that Mario ran years ago, and he made the point about the opening too. Something about ‘get them to do something straight away’ and then you’ll feel better.

      Byt the ‘technical stuff’ I guess you mean the nuts and bolts of putting a presentation together. But for me I’m still irritated when some weird brain signal makes legs shake or has other physical manifestations. How strange it all is!

      Jeremy

  9. Hi Jeremy,

    Wowee, not only a great post on an interesting topic but something I’ve been worrying about as I will be doing my first IATEFL next year, but also such great comments too!

    I have wondered if I was the only one whom nerves ‘come and go’ for as I never have nerves in front of a class, very, very rarely when I’m teacher-training but sometimes they creep in in large audiences … then I talk too quickly and feel like any second now am liable to faint.

    On Monday I was presenting, or rather live story-telling, a story I’ve told a thousand times before yet I had to hold on to the microphone for dear life… the worst was that this happened mid-performance and on the way home, I kept thinking OMG… what if I do that at Harrogate?

    What if I fall over, I’d better wear flat shoes…

    I have a feeling it’s connected to the people in the room and how well I know them and often how much I respect them or what our previous interaction was like.

    If I’m doing whatever I’m doing and the people are all on my own level or they’re trainees, I’m a 99% comfortable and confident however it a situation e.g. my recent Writers Group’s event, there they are people in the audience who have the ability (or the penchant) to criticize me or who are important professionally, then I’m a nervous wreck.

    I shall be investigating the drugs… do you need a prescription? I never knew about that possibility😉

    Karenne

    • Hi Karenne,

      so you’ve had the ‘clutching’ feeling Too (a microphone in your case). But why IS that? You didn’t doubt that you could ‘do’ it, surely? So where did the sudden ‘attack’ come from?

      I think it IS connected with who is listening to you – or rather how they make you feel…how else to explain my not-very-musical friends making me shake?!!

      The beta blockers I’ve used are called ‘propanolol’. members of my family with essential tremor use them and they DO stop shakes. I hardly ever use them myself, but just occasionally.

      Flat shoes? My God I’ve never stopped to think how I would feel wearing high heels when presenting (no jokes now). I interviewed a Miss World once and she told me how terrified she was that she would trip up on stage….

      Jeremy

  10. Thanks again for the reflection Jeremy. I find it weird too, how on and off it is …. but I really think it is all a confidence game.

    What’s helped me most has been really believing in myself. Not in a phony self help way but really believing I have something to say. Passion is focused exuberance. Believe you have something that makes a difference, all the nervousness will subside. Find that passion and if you don’t have it – turn down the speaking engagement – you’ll only be nervous.

    I think this all jives with what many us will secretly confirm – that our greatest presentations were those when we just went off script and really risked and spoke from a passionate center. Scott – I really wish your powerpoint wouldn’t have worked and you’d of spoken directly to everyone. I’m sure it would have been beyond brillant!

    Just my few cents or pence….

    David

  11. Hi David,

    I love the idea that it’s ‘going off script’ that makes a really great presentation. Though, on the other hand, really well planned talks (what Sue calls ‘scaffolded’ talks above) really work too, don’t they?

    But I do agree with you that the key ingredient is passion. If a speaker has that we allow them almost any other weakness. So perhaps it works the other way; with passion we can get past nerves, but without it…

    The thing is we do NEED to be self-conscious when we talk, but not TOO self-conscious!

    Thanks for your few cents’ worth!

    Jeremy

  12. Hi Jeremy

    I have found that when the technology fails at the nearly last minute it’s a bit of a godsend. I get so worried that the tech guy won’t be able to fix it, or my battery will run out or something that by the time it’s fixed I have to start. I find I’m so hugely relieved that everything is working that I am not worried about what I will say.

    I also agree with Luke that I bear in mind that the majority of audiences want me to succeed. ELT is a nice crowd in general. I don’t agree that the smaller the crowd makes it easier (not for me), the large crowds have a certain anonymity even though I often focus on three or four anchors.

    And I always always have to pee just before I go on. Always.

    • Hi Lindsay,

      yes I know that rush of ‘Thank God’ when everything is working and you can turn to the audience and give it a go. That IS a great feeling.

      It is certainly true that most English language teachers want you to succeed, though I find it is different in different countries and with different types of gatherings.

      I am with you about the size of groups. After you get over a natural fear of large audiences they do, in fact, become easier in some ways. 1,000 people laughing at the same time (if you can achieve that) is a wondrous sound!

      Where we have to go before we start? Yes. Gender specific? I doubt it.

      Jeremy

  13. I used to know a presenter who was never ever nervous about anything. He was OK as a presenter – but not nearly as good as he thought he was. I had the feeling that he didn’t care enough about the audience to be nervous.

    • Hi GA,

      caring about the audience (a straight-up necessity, I think) can make you more nervous. Caring what the audience think of you (the other side of that coin) makes you even more nervous, I reckon. And so it all boils down, perhaps, to presenter ego. I want you to like me!!!

      It can’t be that simple, can it?

      Jeremy

  14. Right, did I start this topic?

    I think I was doing really well when I was “young”. I was OK for the first few years with all the teaching competitions, the presentations and the model lessons being observed by 40 or 50 teachers or the principals. Even the events were not as perfect I thought, I could still laugh away. This reminds me of “The person who knows nothing scares nothing” in Chinese. When I was a novice teacher, nothing bothered me. It was like, “I’m still young and inexperienced. I made silly mistakes, so what! I don’t care!”

    I remember some of my previous colleagues (teachers) told me that the more experienced (didn’t know if they meant age at that time) you are, the more nervous you would be.

    Then this “more experienced or age” thing in the way. A few years ago I was observed by more than 40 teachers from different schools in the city. I didn’t know that I was actually nervous until my students asked me afterwards. He told me that I didn’t smile at all during the whole lesson. That was unusual.

    It might be the case that I know teaching is not an easy job. It might be that I’m more critical and self-conscious after being recognised as a good teacher.I might take everything too seriously. I couldn’t afford to have a failure. My self-esteem didn’t allow me to do so. This distracted me from enjoying the actual work, I think.

    At the current job, I once was the host for an English speaking competition. There was actually nothing I should scare because I had the script. I couldn’t sleep . Eventually, I called my British friend who was in the same hotel. I rushed to her room and told her that I couldn’t do it. She was a bit surprised as she thought I was really capable of doing it. She said, “I know when you can interact with audience, you are very good. Just go on to the stage and pick up a few friendly people in the audience and imagine you are talking to them.” I took her advice and it worked well the next day with 800 people in the hall.

    Regarding raising questions from the audience,there might be a cultural issue in my case. I was brought up in a semi-traditional classroom where we only asked questions when the teachers wanted us to do so. Most of the time, we were to be seen, not to be heard. Until now, I sometimes still feel that I’m nobody so I must listen to all the authoritative voices from the experts. That might be the reason (not really sure) why I felt nervous when I tried to comment on the experts’ presentations from the floor.

    Jeremy, we may need a psychologist to analyse the cases regarding being nervous! This is fun!

    BTW, I actually feel nervous to click “submit comment” even the comment is from the computer screen (not from the floor)!🙂

  15. Hi Jamie,

    well I’m really pleased that that you clicked ‘submit comment’ even though you were nervous!!

    Yes, your comment about asking questions from the audience was one of the reasons for posting about nerves – because it coincided with my own ‘nervous’ experiences. Interestingly, many of the people who have commented here say that asking questions is their ‘most nervous’ experience too.

    I think you are absolutely right – that nerves get worse when you have more to lose. In other words when people recognise that you are, e.g. a good teacher or a good presenter or whatever. They expect more of you as a result, and you can feel the weight of their expectations on your shoulder.

    You friend’s advice – to find some friendly faces – seems to work really well for many of us. But if you have been affected by nerves (e.g. if your legs start shaking) there is not much you can do about it – except just keep going whilst hanging on to something like a chair, a podium etc etc.

    I wish someone had a magic formula to deal with those moments!

    Jeremy

  16. Richard Acklam once gave me some good advice that has always helped me to relax (slightly) before a talk. Go and chat to a few members of the audience as they come in, introduce yourself, find out a bit about them and what they’re interested in. This also helps to personalize your talk when you get going as you can find these ‘friends’ and relate what you’re saying back to them.

    • Hi Simon,

      yes, that really IS good advice – about talking to audience members first, so you have already ‘made contact’. Of course if you ARE really nervous that’s difficult too!

      But I think you (Richard A too) are right about this way of dealing with it.

      Thanks,

      Jeremy

  17. Great post!

    I get ‘stage fright’ before any kind of presentation, before beginning a new class and before important meetings or interviews. It produces a kind of ‘raw’ nerves sort of feeling that is mostly a stomach clutching thing and a bit of thought racing in my mind. Over the years I have sort of learned to see it as a friend as inevitably this feeling means a better and more engaged performance and I now worry if it is not there (why am I complacent?). My own chosen method is that a) I want to be alone to think b) I take a bit of a walk c) I arrive early at the space where the presentation is taking place to get a feel of the room and d) after the sort of hollow headed feeling that sometimes follows being introduce and before starting the talk, I focus on a friendly face at the front of the audience. After about 30 seconds of echoey sounds that are my voice reverberating round my head, I settle in to the talk and then I allow myself to enjoy! But all these jitters are worth it for the incredible rush once the talk is over and has gone well. The few times I have “lost” the audience, I stopped my talk and inserted a quick pairwork question (no matter the size of the talk) “talk to the person sitting next to you about your experiences of X” (most talks can accommodate this) and used the time and the buzz of conversation to work out my next move. The feedback time after the pairwork usually rebonds the audience and shifts the dynamics away from being speaker centred to being more about the whole group. I have always found that effectively reconnects things!

    • Hi Sara,

      thanks so much for this.

      I agree that nerves are usually (but not always – hence the original post) a really ‘good’ thing. They help you engage the ‘passionate’ part of what you want to say – something commented on earlier. And like you I have been absolutely terrified (though not ‘nervously’, funnily enough) when I haven’t felt those creepy nerves kicking in before a talk. It is more difficult to ‘lift yourself up’ before a talk if there isn’t a bit of adrenalin pumping around!

      I like your pairwork idea – a perfect ‘get-out’ for ‘omigod where am I?’

      Jeremy

  18. We ALL get nervous! This is SO reassuring!

    And there is no doubt it doesn’t get easier the more you do it. Quite the reverse. I remember seeing Laurence Olivier interviewed when he was about 70, saying how when he was a young actor, he couldn’t understand why older cast members were so nervous. The more he performed, the more he understood.

    I love Gavin’s pre-talk routines and will follow them religiously from now on (apart from head-shaving and smoking). Gavin of course used to hang out with stand-up comics, who probably had complex and superstitious routines that had to be adhered to. I used to perform in a stage-show and I learnt a lot from the actors I worked with, not least the need for a moment of quiet reflection before the show starts.

    re Gemma Anna’s point about no nerves, not very good presentation. Maybe true in some cases. I only ever met one person in this business who didn’t get nervous – someone who works for Macmillan de Mexico. I’m not going to name her to avoid embarrassment, but she was in fact brilliant. Astonishing good. So .. exceptions…

    I WISH Luke’s point about audiences wanting you to succeed was universally true. I think it IS true if the audience is mainly non-NEST. However, I’m afraid there are groups of NESTs in certain countries who seem to take offence at other NESTs parachuting in and pontificating. They make me VERY nervous. Does no one else have a problem like this?

    So – here are my 5 rules for containing pre-talk nerves:

    1

  19. Oops…

    1 Get into the lecture hall an hour before your talk. If there’s a talk in there before you, then get in before that one.

    2 Check your equipment, then walk it, talk it (or at least the first five minutes of it) to an empty room.

    3 Chew a Fisherman’s Friend 10 minutes before you start

    4 Look in a mirror just before you start. Check for unruly hair, bits of breakfast on your chin and check your … ahem… clothing.

    5 Start with a huge smile (as Simon says, releases endorphins) and say hello.

    Oh.. and number 6…

    6 Use your chest voice, don’t use your squeaky throat voice….

    • Thanks everyone for some truly great advice. Especially Ken’s last one, which was six pieces of advice (ESPECIALLY number 1 and 4, well all of them actually)

    • Hi Ken,

      thanks very much for your ‘6 points’ – that old magic number again!

      I certainly walk around the room (if I can), clicking my slides, getting a feel of what it will be like when the room is full,; imagining myself talking to row 6 or the people on the right etc etc.

      NEST teachers? Well it is certainly true (has certainly been true in the past) that if you had to guage the ‘welcome’ quotient of an audience a bunch of teachers would probably score higher in Belo Horizonte than Birmingham. Some groups sit there just wanting you succeed, while others, it feels like sometimes, are just kind of hoping you will fal flat on your face!

      You didn’t mention the same kind of pit stop as Gavin and Lindsay, though!

      Jeremy

    • Ken, once more….

      your Laurence Olivier mention worries me of course. Does it get worse with age? Shaky legs worse with age? But I remember shaking life a leaf when I asked questions from the floor in Mexico some 30 years ago, so that reassures me a bit.

      I think.

      Jeremy

  20. I don’t mean NESTs in Birmingham, they’re fine (well, they’re fine at the wonderful Brasshouse. I mean NESTs who’ve been working for ages in places like Taipei or Osaka. The ones who don’t think you know anything about their working conditions and also seem to despise you for being up there in front of them.

    Or am I being paranoid now??

    Excuse me… knock at door. Two men in white coats.

  21. Thanks for all the fantastic advice! I get shaky sweaty hands, and a wobbly voice from nerves before every single presentation I’ve ever done. Probably the most terrifying experience of my life was the Pecha Kucha at IATEFL Cardiff last year – I simply wanted to die 10 mins before it started. The solution? Drugs! I always take at least one valeriana tablet (no, not Valium!) — it’s a herbal thingy, which really does the trick for me. So I’m usually to be found in the toilets 15 minutes before presentation furtively swallowing tablets…

    Nicky

    • Hi Nicky,

      thanks for this (and I know how terrifying Pecha Kuchua is!!)

      Your herbal thingies sound a bit like Gavin’s cigarettes (though probably far less damaging!). And the toilet theme seems to have cropped up again!

      On a more serious note, you didn’t look that nervous when you did your Pecha Kuchua turn in Cardiff, so how did you manage that?!!!

      Jeremy

  22. Swallowing valerian tablets before speaking? Believe me, this is the first time I hear that. I googled valerian and this is what I got: “Valerian can reduce anxiety and encourage SLEEP”. I hope it’s not sleep among the audience. Still, I don’t see how ‘pill-speaking’ can help me improve my speeaking and presentation skills. Should I teach my students how to better control themselves before and during a presentation or just prescribe valerian tablets? How can I know that I’m improving as a speaker If I just hypnotize myself before going on stage? Worse, what if a speaker had to go through a doping test and then finds out that he has to give back all audience applause he has been getting for the last 20 years?!?!

    Brahim ID BEN DRISS
    EFL teacher,
    Safi, Morocco.

  23. Hi Jeremy,
    I agree with some of the other comments that generally people want you to do well. However, this doesn’t stop me from getting nervous in the run up to a presentation. I used to be an actor and dealt with nerves a lot, obviously rehearsing is really important. One director I worked with suggested viewing your performance in your head like a film the night before while lying in bed, thus making you feel more confident with the content. This usually makes me feel more secure. I still get really nervous before having to do a presentation or lead a workshop but I find concentrating on my breathing helps – cigarettes tend to make me more nervous.

    • Hi Richard,

      thanks for this – which is a comment on that other post about ‘being nervous’ I think.

      I absolutely agree about rehearsing presentations both out loud and in your head – a constant ‘playing through’ of how you hope it will be.

      Jeremy

  24. Pingback: Fifteenth Edition of the ESL/EFL/ELL Carnival | Teacher Reboot Camp

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