Over the last couple of weeks, top theatre actors have revealed how nervous they are before performances. Of course, due to their success, they have discovered techniques for managing their fear.

Boy hiding his face

In one case, the Oscar winning actress, Judi Dench, revealed she STILL gets nervous before performing and she believes her nervousness has become more acute as she has got older. I would qualify that she suffers from sight loss making it more difficult to read scripts and so she has had to change her routines for learning lines and rehearsing. Also, as we get older, we have physical challenges – including fitness that might impact on our confidence.

In this week’s Superstar Communicator podcast, I share the challenges of performing live – whether that be speaking, performing or playing in sport.

I also share four top tips to managing your nerves.  These include:

1. Be as prepared as possible. Know what you are going to say. Practice. Practice. Practice.

2. Build up experience. The more you speak, the more you will get used to that HORRID feeling of nerves before speaking! You will learn to trust yourself that you will be okay and that you won’t dry up half way through your presentation.

3. Prepare physically. Just as singers and dancers stretch and warm up their muscles before they speak, you need to do this before you speak. You want to get rid of any tension in your body so that your voice is clear; that your body is energised and your body language is open. We have a couple of videos on the home page of this site, to exercise your neck and jaw.

4. Mentally prepare. This means getting your concentration focused on the speech, not on your nervousness, or other things that take over! Here at Executive Voice, I have a number of techniques to support clients to get into the right ‘mind set’ so that  you are READY to speak and can manage your nerves.

In our Superstar Public Speaking course we offer a cost effective way to develop your public speaking skills on a one to one basis. This course includes work on managing nerves for public speaking – and presentations.


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About the author

Susan Heaton Wright is a former opera singer who works with successful individuals and teams to make an impact with their voices and physical presence. Using her experience in using the voice and performing on stage, she works with people to improve their performances in a range of business situations; from meeting skills and on the telephone, to public speaking, presentations and appearing on the media.

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