One of my favourite sports is rugby, but barracking for the Australian Wallabies has not been fun of late! Recently the Wallabies lost yet another clash with the New Zealand All Blacks, making it the 10th straight year of losing the Bledisloe Cup to them.
Such dominance is not by accident. There are many explanations for it, but the two key reasons are that they consistently have a better game plan than the Wallabies, and they execute the basics almost to perfection.
What relevance does rugby have to do with public speaking nerves, I hear you ask?
Having a game plan and getting the basics right when public speaking are essential to controlling your nerves and further, giving a good performance.
Like a safety net to the trapeze artist, a game plan can be relied on as a crutch to give us confidence, to allay fears, and to help us when things go wrong or don’t go as expected. A good public speaking game plan encompasses things you will do for your public speaking task to be successful – including how you will deal with nerves.
When the All Blacks prepare for a game, I’m guessing they develop strategies around what went right or wrong with past performances, the strengths/weaknesses of their players and their opposition, the referee, the weather, their attacking/defensive patterns, what to do if they get behind on the scoreboard, and so on.
Similarly, for a public speaking task, you need strategies around, for example: how long the speaking task is, your audience, who the audience is, what information you need to acquire for the speaking task, what you want to tell the audience, the exercises you will do for your nerves in the days/hours/minutes before the task, how you will use body language to convey your message, and so on.
The All Blacks always seem to get the basics right – they rarely drop the ball, their passes hit the mark and their kicks are accurate. These are the fundamental building blocks of the game and support the game plan. The All Blacks are masters of the basics because they practice constantly, day in, day out. They do drills before a game, they do drills at practice, they probably do drills in their sleep, until it is second nature.
Mastering the basics of public speaking is important too. To deal with your public speaking nerves, it’s important to regularly practice the right techniques to manage them. To be a good speaker, it’s important to speak often. Practice – and more specifically the right practice – is the key to getting the basics right.
Here’s hoping the tactics of the Wallabies improve and they don’t drop the ball when they next meet the All Blacks!
If you’d like to learn more about how to develop strategies to control your public speaking nerves, why not contact us to see how we can help?