I'm not a natural presenter. Like most of us, I'm nervous for hours, sometimes days, before I present. My hands sweat, I tremble and I struggle to keep myself grounded.
Over the last year I've experienced all of these nerve-racking feelings and contrary to what I thought even a year ago, I'm absolutely grateful for every opportunity. I've even started to enjoy the rush and have started to develop a desire to present.
What has helped me the most? Preparation, practice and coaching from my advisors are definitely top of the list. But, the most helpful strategy has been a mind-set shift.
Our core beliefs that reflect our philosophy of life and "after an initial introduction to a new mind-set, it can take hold and flourish" (Dr. Kelly McGonigal).
Amy Cuddy outlines in her TED Talks how our body language shapes who we are. People who power pose before a stressful event, like public speaking or an interview, actually perform better than those who don't.
Making yourself look big and feel large and in charge. Spread your arms, stand tall and flex your guns. Think superhero.
In The Upside of Stress, Dr. Kelly McGonigal emphasizes that a lot of the stress we experience can actually make us stronger, smarter and happier … if we capitalize on it. So while many of us (including myself before reading her book) believe that we would be better public speakers or do better on interviews if we just didn't feel stressed, Dr. McGonigal explains that if we rethink stress and use it to our advantage we will actually perform better.
Changing my mind-set and establishing a routine before presenting has been a catalyst for positive change and one that's allowed me to stay open to the opportunities available. So, now before I give any sort of presentation I make sure I have time for a few minutes of power posing, positive affirmations and asking myself this: "What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?" (Brene Brown)
1. Amy Cuddy. Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are. Ted Talks. June 2012. 2. The Upside of Stress: Why stress is good for you, and how to get good at it. Kelly McGonigal. 2015. Penguin Random House . 3. Brene Brown. The Power of Vulnerability. TED Talks. June 2010.