I’m yet to coach a speaker who isn’t worried they will forget what they’re saying. I personally don’t think it’s a massive problem if you do forget your words – or fall off the stage for that matter. The audience will get over it.
But if you are worried you will do something stupid, you can end up doing some weird stuff on stage.
Now, one argument says you should stand up straight and smile and no one will know you’re shaking inside. It’s not a bad tool to have up your sleeve. But I’ve found a more powerful option:
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Imagine this scenario:
You forget your words mid-talk.
You pause and it feels awkward.
Half a second passes. For you, it feels like an hour.
You still haven’t said anything.
You don’t want the audience to suspect you’re uncomfortable so you try to mask your panic and push on.
In a bid to stay composed you talk faster to fill the gap.
In fact, this can happen when you haven’t forgotten your words. It can happen when you’re worried you will.
Instead, get comfortable with the uncomfortable. It’s normal. But most importantly, the moments where you are comfortable with uncomfortable are the moments you can listen to your audience, playfully feed off their energy and deliver a really engaging talk. Not just one where you look confident.
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