“How do you deal with nerves before doing something big in English? I get so nervous and it’s really affecting my performance. Any tips?”

I got this in my mail recently (thanks, P!) and I’d like to share my answer with all of you. I know what it’s like to get nervous. Believe me, I have that every time I’m live on Dutch TV or radio.

Let me give you 3 simple tips. (These work for any language, too!)

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare! If you don’t know your material backwards and forwards, the chances of you forgetting your shizzle increases. Practise in the shower, practise in your car, practise for your goldfish (don’t get offended if they swim away)…practise!

2. Make sure you know all about the technical side of your talk. Do you have the right beamer attachment? Is it Mac-compatible? Do you have the right kind/size of speakers to deal with the size of the room? Is the WIFI code already installed in your computer? Have you checked your embedded links to make sure they’re all up and running perfectly? Do you know what kind of mic you have and how to use it (this might sound silly, but I cannot tell you how many times people think the mic is on when it’s not…and then they stand there waiting for someone to help them turn it on….)? Basically, the more that you can control, test, and check, the less you have to worry about that the technical side will let you down.

3. B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Many studies have shown that if your exhale is actually longer than your inhale, it becomes more difficult to create the ‘fight or flight’ adrenaline. This is a breathing exercise I have done with many of my clients and students with fantastic results.

You, (yes, YOU, my dear Buffi) are only human. This means that you might make a mistake or two, despite doing everything in your control not to. You might slip up, have a black-out, or just get really sweaty. This means that you are (shock and awe!!) not a robot. People tend to relate to people in all their glorious, flawed humanity better than they do to anything else, so celebrate that. You’re human. You fucked something up for a second. Admit it. Embrace it. And move on. Onwards and upwards!

I hope these 3 simple tips will help you feel more confident the next time you have something BIG coming up – whether it’s a job interview, a pitch to new clients, or giving that TED talk you’ve dreamed about for so long.

Let me know how your next Big Thing goes!

Sending you love and drowning you in a confidence-filled Niagara Falls….

X buffi