It’s hard to keep a level of perspective when you’re stressed.
Public Speaking is a stressful task for many people, and speaking to an audience feels stressful because the sense of perspective is lost.
The event in front of you can look bigger and uglier than it is.
Here are some ways to turn that public speaking mountain back into a molehill.
Take a Higher View
A day before your speaking event, go on a bushwalk, ideally to a higher point on the landscape.
Elevation gives a different view.
The higher, the better. Flights are best, which is why people who travel seem to be more grounded. Not only because they have experienced different cultures or challenging situations but also because they have been in altitude.
Astronauts speak of the ‘overview effect’ changing their view on everything. They come back with a sense of the reality of what is essential. (The strangest thing is how passionate they are for others to experience the same. It’s a thing amongst astronauts.)
Consider the End
We are all mortal, and being confronted with that reality makes just about everything unnecessary. A cemetery or crematorium tour can be sobering. Talk a walk around a modern cemetery on the weekend before your speaking event. I’m sure it will generate a less frazzled view of the world.
You might think reading the daily death notices can be grim, but the joy of life that emerges from these short notices highlights what is essential in life.
10 Plus 10 Plus 10
Whatever is happening now, how do you think will it feel in 10 days? Or ten months? Or ten years? Project your mind to some point in the future and consider how insignificant whatever is happening now will be.
No one will remember.
The passing of time heals, so whatever poor performance you think you might have delivered, in 10 days, or ten months and certainly ten years, it will be gone.
Try any of these three ideas when you think that your nerves will upend your next presentation.