The first time I was on stage I was about four years old, wearing a rather fetching tutu and doing ballet. I was so focused on making sure that all the other tutu clad dancers went on stage at the right time, that I didn’t have time to be nervous.
The first time I was on stage as a grown up as part of my job, it was less tutu more suit, and I was in my mid to late twenties. And the nerves were there so much I thought I was going to throw up or pee in my pants.
Today, even if I have been on stage in some form or another for more than forty years, and even if more than 20 of them have been as conference speaker or trainer, I still get butterflies in my stomach about speaking in public.
But I have learned to quiet the nerves so I get a bit of an adrenalin rush, but my brain still functions.
The main way I do this is to take myself to a quiet spot back stage and do some deep breathing exercises to calm the nerves. I practice my opening lines, and I remind myself that I have things under control.
I know that many of you out there will be regulars on stage or in front of a screen presenting to colleagues or clients.
What are your top tips for managing stress around speaking?
I would love to hear them.