Is it possible to be composed when your heart is racing, your knees are shaking, and your stomach is in knots? Most definitely. When you look at the great speakers like Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, do you think they are not nervous? They are, but all you see is composure. Calm, reassuring, and confident, they address their audience just as if they were having a conversation with you in your living room.
They also talk to you – not at you – the individual in the seat, hanging on their every word.
Do they have a special power? They have nothing more special than you aside from years of experience and the confidence that they will do the best job that they can. They are not striving for perfection because that is not attainable; instead, they want to share a part of themselves by voicing their opinions, their beliefs, their theories, or their ideologies on how you can better yourself in your own life.
They also possess presence which is something you can achieve if you are willing to do so. I have worked with so many people who approached the lectern with such fear and trepidation that I wondered if they would be able to finish their presentation without getting sick.
Part of the success of being composed is dependent on a few things you need to do before you open your mouth to speak:
1. Know your material. Your must practice your material out loud over and over until you are truly familiar with what you plan to say.
2. Walk to the lectern with purpose. With your shoulders back and your head held high, carry yourself with confidence. Slouching and staring at your feet as you walk on the stage or to the head of the boardroom table does not instill confidence in you or your audience.
3. Before opening your mouth to speak, acknowledge your audience. Scan the room from one side to another as you smile at those in attendance. Let them see that you are pleased to be there.
4. Breathe. It is the most important thing you can do to control your nervousness and to eliminate breathlessness. Sadly, it is the one thing we never think to do in public speaking.
5. Begin when you are ready. Upon reaching the lectern, you are the maestro, you are the chef, you are the top dog. Do not feel pressured to start until you are ready to do so.
Establishing composure is most definitely within your reach if you are willing to work for it.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only complete video training program on voice improvement. To see how voice training can improve your presentation skills, check out her Voice Training Services page.