I’m a big National Public Radio fan and I love to listen to programs like “All Things Considered“, “Fresh Air” and “This American Life“. A few days ago, there was a wonderful review of books to help stay calm and squelch stage fright. You can listen or download the podcast here.
The book that intrigued me was Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: 21 Powerful Secrets Of History’s Greatest Speakers by James C. Humes. From the NPR website:
A speechwriter to five presidents and a Churchill expert, Humes is known for books full of clever stories that have a point. In this one, he gives tips from greats ranging from Napoleon to Thatcher — examples showing how to use props like reading glasses and letters from the mail, statistics and even acknowledgments to great effect.
More than a how-to book, Speak Like Churchill Stand Like Lincoln includes a wealth of stories and powerful lines easily transferred to any occasion.
The Tucson Pima library has one copy and I’m going to check it out.
In coaching people to tell their stories for Odyssey Storytelling each month I’ve developed a new way of thinking about stage fright.
This is how it works – you change your expectation. Ask yourself, how do I feel physically when I am nervous? How do I feel when I am excited? They both feel much the same way in your body – sweaty palms, butterflies in your belly, shortness of breath.
My theory is that when you are excited you are visualizing a positive outcome but when you are nervous you anticipate a less than good outcome.
Much of stage fright is simply excitement with a negative expectation. Change your focus and nervousness will transform into excitement.