Never Mention That You Are Nervous!

Member news | September 13, 2021

By FACC-NY Member Muriel Omur Ilbas

In some cultures, speaking in public is easier.

Most American children learn to give presentations at an early age, and they don’t even realize that it is a real blessing for them.

In most European countries, public speaking is a nightmare for a lot of people who did not really learn to deal with it at school.

Speech anxiety must be taken seriously because it can affect your mental and body health.

I can assure you that every speaker has experienced some degree of speech anxiety, even the professionals. You are definitely not the only one to experience this stress before and during the presentation.

Rule number one:

Never begin a speech by mentioning that you are nervous!

Every public speaking coach will encourage you to be authentic, but revealing your anxiety is not what they are referring to.

I will give you two reasons for not being so frank.

By telling them that you were anxious, you just gave your audience the right to criticize you.   

And as you heard yourself talking about your anxiety, it convinced you that you are in a dire situation.

Rule number two:

Never try to start a speech by telling a joke if you don’t do it in your daily life. Good speakers don’t tell jokes, they often express their ideas in a humorous way. Besides jokes can be tricky and offensive.

The most important advice is very simple: Breathe.

Your brain needs oxygen to be able to think and process all the information you will need to complete your speech. Breathe before and during your speech.

And last but not least: Preparing and practicing seriously your presentation are the surest ways to minimize nervousness. 

Muriel Omur Ilbas is a former TV producer and anchorwoman, a communication expert with 20 years of management consulting, 16 years of training services, and 11 years of executive coaching experience.

She has worked with more than 150 global companies including Pepsi, British American Tobacco, Coca Cola, L’Oréal, Limagrain, Lesaffre, Total, Peugeot, Groupama, Louis Vuitton, Basf, Roche, Glaxo, and Novartis.

Her company, LSWUS Consulting, LLC, based in the U.S., provides a broad variety of online and in person services in consulting, coaching, training, mentoring, and crisis management for expat managers and international students living in the US.

She provides intercultural coaching and public speaking services under her brand: Your Coach in America.