No matter what your area of expertise, do you find that the same few questions are always asked? I think we all do, and today, I am going to touch on just three of the most common questions that I am asked when I work with people who are preparing their message for the stage or for TV; they just might be what you need to know!
So, here ya go!
Q:” I get so nervous before I go on stage, how can I deal with that?”
Knocking knees, butterflies and increasing self-doubt… so not fun! I know for me, years ago, what I felt was closer to terror! Well, as uncomfortable and disconcerting as it is, a certain degree of nervousness is a good thing. It is proof that what you are doing matters to you! First thing to do is trust that the energy running through your limbs and into your belly can be controlled and harnessed to better your focus and help you shine out there. I undermined myself completely in the beginning by panicking the moment I felt my knees get weak, my heart would start to pound, and it got progressively worse from there. My body was reacting primitively to the message I was sending … it was the old fight or flight response that served our early ancestors but, it was inappropriate for that moment. Was there a true possibility of me dying out there? Was my life going to be in danger? No!
What I learned to do was appreciate the first signs of nervous excitement because you know it’s going to be there! And be grateful for it. “Hello, Nervousness. I expected you! Let’s get going…” Take that energy with you and do something good with it. Know that energy is going to feed into your audience and your excitement will be infectious!
So, you see, it’s a mindset change from the very start. That feeling of jitters is not the beginning of your demise; it is the start of something great!
Q: “I worry that I will forget what I need to say!”
Nothing wrong with taking some key points on index cards with you. Small cards are not going to pull away any focus like a paper would nor will they make any noise when they are shuffled. It is a learned skill to be able to glance at the information on the cards and not keep your eyes diverted for too long a period of time. You don’t want to lose the connection with your host or your audience. It is better to give yourself piece of mind and get all your key points addressed than to be preoccupied with worry. If cards help you to be more in the moment, then go for it. If this is a topic you will discuss time and time again, you will eventually be able to go without those cards, but give yourself a break and use them until you feel comfortable without them.
Q: “What if I don’t have an answer to a question that is asked of me?”
Always admit that you do not have the answer… never fudge it. Nothing is worth running your reputation and trust. Simply say something like, “I don’t feel comfortable giving you those facts, until I check on them. I would like the chance to get back too you on that.” It’s always best to show respect for the question, even if you don’t have the answer on hand. Another way to handle it is to ask another clarifying question: “ I am curious as to why you would ask that… what is it you really want to know about that subject?” You may find that you really can handle the question once it is more specific.
Most importantly, be yourself, have fun and enjoy every moment!