2-Minute Tip: Act as If
When you are nervous, or think you don't see,m confident, don't tell yourself not to be nervous or just be more confident. That rarely works; it usually just makes things worse. Instead, think about other speakers you know who don't appear nervous (they might actually be). How do the act? Can you adopt some of those behaviors? Try to act like you're not nervous. The more you act like you're comfortable, the more likely you'll feel comfortable.
The brain wants consistency. If your physical mannerisms say you're not nervous, your mind will make you feel less nervous. Act as if you're not nervous to in fact become less nervous.
Often in my life life, I've felt like a fraud. Like I was about to be found out or caught. That I had no business teaching people or speaking to an audience or managing a million-dollar-plus budget for an organization. But you know what? That was just my own brain messing with me. I learned to accept that. The doubt was always going to be with me even though it was illegitimate.
Most people have this feeling at one time or another. Your friends. Your colleagues. Your boss. Their boss. Your subordinates. Nearly everyone is afraid they're going to be revealed as a sham, even when they are not.
It's called Impostor Syndrome. And it's an insidious source of stress for billions of people. Some respond with fear and nerves. Others with defensiveness and anger. Some embrace it. Others simply accept it and move on.
This affects many speakers when we get on stage. We start thinking, "Who am I to command the attention of dozens or hundreds or thousands of speakers?"
Well, you're the expert. You're the one who does in fact have value to contribute to this event. You were chosen by smart people to talk to the audience. It's an audience that is there because they believe this is the best use of their time at the moment.
Acknowledge the impost syndrome when you feel it creep up on you to take away it's power. Do the things that are within your control. Do the work. Practice. Deliver a great talk. And wow your audience.