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Become an Engaging Presenter

Lesson 12 of 15

Anxiety Makes Me Nervous


Become an Engaging Presenter

Lesson 12 of 15

Anxiety Makes Me Nervous


Lesson Info

Anxiety Makes Me Nervous

What happens when you start to execute and all of the sudden all the anxiety comes up? And we see that all the time. I feel fine, it's going to be great, I'll wing it and then you get onstage and you get really nervous. And all your thoughts are about, this isn't working. I don't know. So you have to think about how you're going to actually work on that anxiety. So if you have ritual, you're already starting to build in ways, to build out that anxiety. It's normal. It's great. If you're anxious, a little bit. It means, it matters to you. So welcome that anxiety and be comfortable with it and say this is my anxiety. What do I do with it? That's why warm up exercises are so important. So you're warming up your mind, you're warming up your body, and you're warming up your voice. These are all the things that are important. Well, here is how your mind works, or your brain works. We get into fighter flight mode and all of the sudden, adrenaline is pumping through our body. All of these thin...

gs are released into our brain. These chemicals are released for us to either fight somebody or run away from them. So, that's my choice in presenting with all of you. Or I can take that and I can start to realize that if I slow down and I breathe, and I focus on you, what happens is I start to slow down. My brain gets more comfortable. And I'm more open to creativity. If I'm always nervous, I'm not open and receptive to what you're giving me or answering questions and being creative. So it's one of the things we have to do. So when you work on that you need to stretch it all out. It's really, really simple. Anybody have this before? The nervous sneeze? Everybody stand up. Here is a great way to warm up. We do this improvisation all the time. It warms up your body and your voice at the same time. We usually do it from 10, but we'll do it from five. So I'm going to count down, and when I count down from five, four, three , two, one. Five, four, three, two, one. Five, four, three, two, one. Five, four, three, two, one. It works on my voice and my hands. And it'll shake everybody out. If you're at the office right now watching this class, do it anyway. It'll give you an idea of how many people are actually paying attention to you, rather than their work. So this is something that we do. So everybody is going to do this, ready? We start with the right hand and we're going to go, Five, four, three, two, one. Five, four, three, two, one. Five, four, three, two, one. Five, four, three, two, one. Four, three, two, one. Four, three, two, one. Four, three, two, one. Four, three, two, one. Three, two, one. Three, two, one. Three, two, one. Three, two, one. Two, one. Two, one. Two, one. One. One. Everybody was laughing. It's a fun warm up exercise. I'm warm. My body and voice are warm. Even if I did that stepping outside of the room, I'm probably more connected to my message. But here is a good one for your shaky legs. Everybody get into your neutral position. You're now a tree. Imagine what tree you would be, I don't know. They're like, whats your, if you were a tree what would you be? But here is the thing. Don't lock your knees. But your toes are a valuable part of the tree because they're your roots. So imagine, that you have no shoes on. For those of you who don't have shoes. Next time when you come to my audience please wear shoes. But here is the thing, Take your toes and curl them into the ground, like they're in really nice fresh grass. We've had a lot of rain in northern California, so we have these great beds of grass, and just dig your toes a little bit into the grass, into the ground, and now you're rooted into the ground. So when I'm presenting if I get nervous, and when I move and if plant myself again, I'm present because I know I'm firmly planted in the ground. It's a way for me to come back and be present. But here is the best part. Everybody shake your knees. Now firmly plant those roots into the ground. Are you capable of shaking your knees right now? It's really hard. It's really hard. And the more that you do that, as you rehearse it, you have to do it in rehearsal, it's not like game day, I'm up here and I'm like, I'm digging my toes in, and you're like ow my toes hurt. You're not going to dig in them so hard but if you use that contraction and that muscle, what happens is you start to connect more to the ground and your body is actually responding in a way that you'll stop shaking. Because I'm not thinking about my shaky knees anymore. I'm focusing on my roots. You can sit down, that's great. You gotta practice. Anxiety is huge. What also happens when we have anxiety? How many people have been to presentations where this is a big one? Um. Ah. Like. Or this one, I have lot of people who present and they do this, smch, before they speak. They do a little smacking noise in their mouth because they've got something important to say. So they go smch. So they do that smacking sound, right? These are called disfluencies. Disfluencies come from anxiety and they come from energy that's pent up. So if you're a presenter and you have your hands in your pocket and you have al this energy, you're more likely to go um, ah, like. I worked with somebody once, I interviewed them, and they said done at the end of every one of their sentences. So I'd ask a question they'd be like, so tell me about yourself, well I went to this college I did this, done. So it was great for a while until I was like, really? Now I know you're done. You know. But we talked about it afterwards. And I gave feedback and I said, this stuff is great but I want to let you know, and they had no idea they were doing it. But in their head, they were saying done. So that they knew the end to give me a cue so I could ask the next question. So these happen because we're anxious. How do you get rid of them? You have to be aware of them first? So that's where the recording comes into play in the rehearsal. If you record that it's great because now you know if you're saying um or ah. Remember our heart beats faster, we get nervous. And there is that moment of time that breaks in between each thing we say. And nobody likes silence. So I throw an um in there. So that it, make sure I'm speaking at all times. So if you practice, and here is a couple of ways to do that, one is after you record it, make eye contact. If I start paying attention to you, I'm not worried about what's missing or what I missed in my presentation. You have no idea what I've missed today. There are things I was going to talk about but, clearly I talk too much about other things. The only way you know if I missed something, and that's a big thing, when people have their presentations and they feel like they've missed a point, the only way that the audience knows you missed a point is if you go, otherwise if I keep talking you have no idea. And then I'll come back to it and I'll get to it. The other things is, interaction with the audience. Physical exercises, warm ups. Tell a story and you're no longer worrying about the spaces. Because when we tell stories, we've already learned and rehearsed ours stories. There is gaps in there. So tell those stories. Keep your hands out of your pockets. If you put your hands in your pockets you have no place for that energy to go, guess where it comes out? Um, uh, like, uhu, uh. So get rid of that. It's an energy release. It's really, really helpful. The other things is limit distractions. I've done this for a while. Did you hear a lot of ums, and ahs out of me? I can't wait to watch the tape. However, what happens is we go to this place where I'm paying attention. If I'm paying attention everything around me clearly not paying attention to the clock. I might start thinking about that, so limit those distractions. It's really, really important. Those disfluencies will start to go away if you pay attention to it. If you have mistakes, it's okay. Be calm, smile. Handle the situation. You should rehearse so you don't need this. You should be prepared for something to go wrong. I'm having a little timing issue. Casey may be having a little bit of a nervous reaction over there right now. But I'm going to get through this, as calmly and quietly as possible and we'll be done in just a couple of minutes. It's really important to pay attention to that. Don't apologize, for every little thing. We sneeze, we cough. I watch presentation where someone has a little cough and they apologize every time they cough. Now you're just bringing more attention to that. Just get through it. Let people know you're here for them. I talked about, don't avoid the obvious if something happens, let everyone know. We're here. It's fine. No one is going to care. Those are some of the things to think about. Be really, really careful, when you present, to feel like you have to apologize every time something might be a little bit awkward. Because we really want something right? If I know your call to action, why do I want you to take this class? I don't have to worry about me. And I don't have to make it all about me.

Class Description

Does your work require you to give presentations? Are you just getting through them and hoping for the best but not quite hitting the mark? 

Are you building decks to pitch your ideas and to present to clients, but feel as though your presentation skills are mediocre at best? 

Have you lost out on opportunities because you failed to connect with your audience? It’s time to learn how to improve your presentation skills and to start actually enjoying the entire process. 

Join former Late Night with Conan O’Brien performer, accomplished career coach, and small business owner Andrew Whelan to learn how to be an engaging, dynamic presenter. 

This class is short, actionable, and something you can always reference before you go into a pitch. 

In this class you will learn how to: 

  • Prepare your story and rehearse 
  • Prioritize your message 
  • Improve your vocal strength and physical presence 
  • Get emotionally connected with your audience 
  • Keep the momentum going to develop a rhythm 
  • Read cues, connect with your audience and present yourself as an authority 
  • Manage anxiety and handle the unexpected 



This is my second time as an audience member for Creative Live, and I have to tell you all - I'm hooked! I decided to give it a shot because I'm genuinely interested in the subject being covered, it is a wonderful networking opportunity, and its free for audience members - so I receive the course and the bonus materials. For those of you that are nervous about the cameras like I was, let me assure you that you hardly even notice them. If you ever watched a few courses before becoming an audience member, you can tell how little the audience is even shown. Now as for Mr. Whelan - CL couldn't have picked a better presenter to present about presentations. His knowledge and experience reflects in his presentation - he's warm, personable, and if he did rehearse and prepare the way he recommends, it's not noticeable. He's natural and you can relate to every point made. I hope there are other Andrew Whelan courses in the future. I highly recommend CL - as a participant and an audience member - for their variety of course content and bonus materials that I continue to use in my day-to-day. I strongly recommend any class or workshop that includes Andrew Whelan. His advice, experience, and genuine empathetic approach to helping others become better, is invaluable. Thank you Andrew and Thank you Creative Live!

Carolyn Winslow

Thank you! You gave me some fresh ideas to share when I am presenting, and when I'm helping folks be more comfortable when they need to speak in front of others. Good examples, to the point without fluff, and even a bit entertaining. Thanks!

Jack Foxe

This was my first live audience experience, and wow was i shocked how engaged i was! Im someone who has an awful attention span so the fact that i was listening and taking everything in was fantastic. Thanks Andrew for some great tips and making me laugh and thanks to Creative Live for having me in the audience. If anyone who interacts with other people on a regular basis this class is essential!