Celia and I really had to put prove our selves this week as we pitched to a digital Software Engineering company in Bristol. It was a fantastic reminder that it doesn’t matter how experienced you think you might be, when it comes to public speaking it is nerve racking, fact. I’ve been speaking in public for 15 years and I still get nervous. The point is now I’m much more consciously aware of how I manage these nerves so they don’t get the better me.
There were some obvious trip wires; the bright lights of the small conference room so you could see and feel the audience’s interestand the unexpected glare that came from the Power Point machine which occasionally caught us as we moved from one side of the room to the other. Fortunately it felt (and I think this the most important thing) like we kept our listeners engaged. We managed to keep an eye on our pace, and stay connected to our listeners even when it felt like they were slightly drifting. It was interesting to notice that when this happens our reaction can often be driven by anxiety which then causes you to gabble or lose concentration, in fact it’s a brilliant opportunity for using the ‘action’ techniques that we teach to reel your audience back in, take a deep breath and remember your overall intention. Our fearful instinct is one to be looked out for in these situations as we often need to consciously decide to do the opposite of what we feel. This takes practise and commitment.
I was pleased that we made our audience laugh and that we were ourselves. The presentation may not have been perfect but I think our message was clear. We shall see what comes back to us, fingers crossed for Red Alert.