Two days ago you felt as though you were getting the flu. Today you've often felt nauseous. At this very moment your heart is pounding like mad and you wish you could be anywhere in the world but here. Chances are you're about to give a presentation.
It doesn't matter whether your audience is three people you know, or three hundred you don't: when the natural adrenaline buzz goes wild in this way, the terror of talking is stalking your body and if you don't do something to stop it, is going to incapacitate your mind and kill your speech stone dead.
Fortunately, the remedy is so simple that even a baby can do it.
You must BREATHE OUT.
No not like that! Not just a little huuhhh … a little sigh …
REALLY BREATHE OUT!
Breathe every ounce of breath you can find in your lungs out of them Squeeze the breath out so hard that it makes you want to cough. Squeeze the breath out so hard that you feel muscles your belly had forgotten existed, tighten with the effort.*
BE STILL and simply allow the air that is around you to float into your mouth and nose and down your throat into your lungs, and take the place of that old, stuffy stuff you just got rid of.
As soon as you feel replenished, sniff in just a little extra air - and as you do so imagine the smell of newly baked bread or coffee freshly brewed or any aroma of your choice. Then, with that pleasant sensation filling the space behind your eyes and pervading your mind with its deliciousness - step out to greet you audience.
The fact of the matter is that the fresh air you made space for has given your brain an oxygen fix, the high from which should last until you are well into your stride with your presentation and have regained your equilibrium.
It's likely too, that when the session is over the natural adrenaline buzz of a job well done will keep you on a high for the rest of the day. In fact, once you've experienced the energising effect of sharing ideas with an audience you may find you're hooked!
*[ Those who didn't find this technique calming are simply going to have to learn to squeeze a lot harder!]