Anyone can suffer from nerves when they are faced with appearing in front of the public. Even big celebrities and business leaders who should be used to it can be prone to the jitters. Controlling those nerves once you’ve been invited to do a media interview is key if you want to come across well.
The truth is it’s easier for some people than others.
Have You Got a Speaking Phobia?
Unfortunately, a few people have. They are fine in the normal course of events but put them in front of a crowd and they go to pieces. Fortunately, there are some ways that you can help overcome this ‘glossophobia’ and give yourself a fighting chance of sounding like a professional:
- First, be an expert in your field. The more knowledge and capability you have the better you should be able to get your point across. If you’ve been invited to give a talk or answer questions in front of the public or some journalists, it’s because you are that expert.
- The temptation if you are scared is to get through things as quickly as possible and get the away fast. This is actually the opposite of what you should be doing. Facing your fear and focusing on the questions can help relieve the stress you feel. It can also mean you look more in control.
- A lot of the problem is that you probably think everyone is judging you. Nothing could be further from the truth. They just want to know what you know. Try to visualize that you can see happy faces and keep your gaze fixed on the wall or some point at the back of the crowd.
The key to handling public speaking if you really do have a phobia is to practice as much as possible. That’s where media training comes in handy, giving you the opportunity to essentially desensitise yourself to the point that you can face those fears and conquer them.
Everyone Gets Nervous
Many people don’t have a phobia, but they do feel pretty nervous before they talk to the media in any capacity. It’s perfectly natural to feel this way and most people take a deep breath and get on with it. If you are struggling controlling those nerves, however, there are a few things you can do.
- Before you go out in front of the audience, or the interview starts, try tensing and relaxing yourself. You can do this by breathing in and holding it and then letting go. Slow breathing and meditation exercises can also help calm you down.
- Always have some water with you – should your mouth start to get dry, it’s always good to have something to sip. This also gives you a moment to pause and collect your thoughts during the interview.
- How you stand or sit is also important. Try to be relaxed and not too rigid but don’t go the other direction and slump over or slouch. Smile as much as possible as this can help send some positive vibes through your body (although you have to temper this if you are talking about something serious).
- Imagining that your audience is engaged and interested in everything that you’re saying can help calm the nerves while you’re delivering your most important comments. Remember that you’re the expert and that’s why you’re here. If you are being interviewed or making a statement take a deep slow breath before you begin and count down from 3 to 1 before starting just to centre yourself.
Talking to the media is not always easy but media training will give you a bigger selection of tools and experience to draw on and combat those initial nerves.