What is your most gut-wrenching memory that created untold nervousness and anxiety? How did you respond?
For me, I guess that memory would be giving a talk to a weight loss class after I was first hired as a fitness tech. At the time, we had a weight loss class called FitWeigh, and at the beginning an exercise physiologist or a fitness tech was asked to teach participants about basic exercise prescription.
Well, even though I had given several presentations in graduate school, I still didn’t have a sure-fire way of calming myself before I gave a talk.
But at that moment, I felt it was time. I knew that this would be the beginning of more talks to come, so I needed to find a solution ASAP…
What worked for me?
I really didn’t have a plan until right before the class started. I noticed a few things, however. For instance, my breathing increased and became shallow. This was causing me to become more tense, agitated, nervous, and anxious.
At that moment, I decided that whatever it takes, I would take deep, slow breaths. And it worked. Every time I started breathing more shallow and getting nervous, I would go back to deep breathing.
Self-awareness is king.
Also, I reminded myself (a few times) that I had a Master’s Degree and am very knowledgeable, and there was no reason to be nervous. I convinced myself.
During the talk, I spoke calmly, maintaining a consistent tone of voice. And if I started getting nervous again, I would make sure I was breathing while I was talking.
Apparently, I did a great job. The comments I received were confirmation that I was cool, calm, and collective. So, now when I teach education classes I practice deep breathing and make sure I am fully prepared to talk on the subject of choice.
Another thing I’ve learned over time is that I am much more comfortable in an interactive setting, and participants tend to learn better and enjoy the experience.
The biggest group I’ve talked to so far was a group of 35. So, my next challenge is to talk to a group of 50.
If you haven’t already, do you dare challenge yourself to talk in front of a group?
Until next time,