Public speaking tip: How to control your nerves like a pro

What does uncovering your core values mean to you? Well Maduka gave his first speech at Lewisham Speakers and summed it up for us. The word that sums up his speech best is amazing. Now, just before you start thinking oh that’s a good cliché word Mr President, hold on for just one moment.

Often the body says more than the words

Just imagine you were sitting in the audience of about 25 people. Maduka comes to the stage tall, elegant, confident and then he starts to speak. The first three sentences came out fine. Then, the nerves kicked in and he had brain freeze (technical expression). He couldn’t think what to say next.

Have you ever had brain freeze at an important moment?

We all experience it. The question is how do you handle it?

This was Maduka’s first speech. His ice breaker. The speech when he says to the club “I am here!”

And what happens, he gets brain freeze! That sucks, right?

So, what did Maduka do you wonder… Well he paused then elegantly said “let me check my notes for a minute”. He checked his notes and then went on to deliver an amazing icebreaker speech.

He shared a story of he set goals in the past and kept falling short for some reason. Then one day he discovered the ‘core values’ principle and his results improved. The core values principle encourages you to set goals that align with what you value and believe in so you are more likely achieve them. Super message.

What I’d like you to think about for a moment, is what happened to Maduka in that moment of brain freeze until he came from checking his notes. Let’s call it the Stimulus to the Response moment. What happened in that gap?

How did he respond? Well practically speaking, Maduka checked his notes, got the personal affirmation he needed and then he continued his speech seamlessly. I believe, that around eight out of ten newer speakers would not have responded in such a professional way. Typically, most people would have been having thoughts like “oh no, I’ve messed up”, “why does this have to happen now” or “I’ve embarrassed myself”.

Not Maduka, he kept his poise, his focus and he kept moving forward to the end. He gave us a demonstration in how to use your breathing to keep you calm and handle a tricky situation.

This was an advanced speaking skill that Maduka demonstrated so well. No fuss, no panic, simply breathe and stay on track. If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering how he developed this skill. And some of you are probably thinking, “I bet he’s spoken before!” I’m hoping to interview Maduka soon, so we’ll all be able to find out more.

This is a reminder that being able to control your nerves is one of many skills we help our members to develop when they join Lewisham Speakers. It is a key skill that helps you to separate the average speakers to the amazing speakers.

So, have you ever had brain freeze as a speaker? How did you handle it? Share your story in the comment box below, we’d love to know more. 

Let’s keep developing confident speakers!

Peace and love.
Donovan