The Art of Speaking  

Even public speaking professionals get nervous

Overcoming the nerves

YouTube/Wade Paterson

Do professional speakers get nervous before they take the stage?
“Always,” said keynote speaker Giselle Ugarte. “I usually have a time when I want to wake up, and I tell myself I’m going to wake up. I usually spend about an hour completely frozen in bed.
“I have pacing moments. I question everything I’m about to say. I question if I even deserve to be there at all.”
Giselle’s answer shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. Personally, I’ve always gotten nervous before speaking to audiences, but for some reason, I assumed professional paid speakers would eventually move past the anxiety.
My conversation with Giselle was the launching pad for a new YouTube interview series and podcast I’ve released called Keys from Keynotes. I created Keys from Keynotes with the goal of tapping into the knowledge and expertise of some of the world’s greatest public speakers to learn what gives them confidence from the stage.
What I went on to learn from Giselle was she’s able to reframe her mindset to see the nerves as a positive.
“Usually, right before I go on stage, I get extremely calm and I just breathe it in and I’m able to transform the nerves and the imposter syndrome into excitement. I shift that mindset into, ‘I deserve to be here, I’m so excited to be here, it’s an honour to be here,’” said Giselle.
“But to me, the nerves mean I care.”
As Giselle mentioned, some level of stress is not only normal, but actually a good thing. However, for some people, public speaking anxiety can be completely overwhelming.
So is there any way to reduce stress related to public speaking?
While I don’t think the nerves will ever completely go away, I’ve found practice and repetition reduces the fear of taking the stage. When I first started my current job, I learned I would be required to speak at a monthly event that typically hosted 60 attendees. In those early days, I would start worrying about the upcoming speaking event two weeks prior to actually delivering the speech. If you do the math, that was half of my life being lived with anxiety about speaking.
It was at that time I joined Kelowna AM Toastmasters with the goal of reducing my stress associated with public speaking. After about six months, I noticed my anxiety would only start kicking in 48 hours before the speaking event, which meant I was gifted with an additional 12 stress-free days per month.
Whether you’re an aspiring keynote speaker or you’re about to give the first speech of your life, focus on practicing and remember, even the pros get nervous.
The nerves simply show you care.
If you’re thinking about joining Toastmasters to improve your public speaking skills, our Kelowna AM Toastmasters Club is always looking for new members.
If you’re interested in learning more about Impactful Communication, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Wade Paterson is an award-winning Toastmaster who is passionate about Impactful Communication.

His columns and accompanying YouTube videos are focused on helping others become more confident public speakers and communicators.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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