Believe you can
I have to give a speech next week and I am extremely nervous about it. I had addressed a crowd before but I got so nervous that I ended up fumbling and forgetting what I had to say. This memory seems to be haunting me again and I can’t seem to get over it,even though it will be almost two years now. Any suggestions on how I can get through this?
Thank you for your email and sharing your situation with me. Let me start by quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “All the great speakers were bad speakers at first.” I can’t imagine how terrifying an experience it must have been almost two years ago, but guess what? You still survived it. Experience is one of our best teachers. Don’t let the fear of the past control the joy of tomorrow. Speaking in public does come more naturally to some people and the fact that you’ve been selected to give a speech implies that you do have an edge over others and that should be a thought to hold on to. Have you ever tried making flashcards? These are sometimes useful and help you remember but if not used during practise sessions, they can prove to be the enemy at the final performance.
When preparing for a speech, it is important to know your audience. This can guide you with the content and context for your speech. Use humour where possible – it never killed anyone in the past. Try to personalise the speech a little; your passion and beliefs will show through your body language. Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse. Remember that practise makes perfect or something quite close to it at least. Being a little nervous is good. Fear is the brains way of saying there is something for you to overcome. Use positive self-statements like, “I can do this/I got this”. Believe you can and you will be amazing as to how you did it! All the best.
I seem to lose my temper very easily these days. My friends have started calling me ‘Snappy’ since I snap at them often and too quickly. I can’t figure out what has changed and why I have become like this. When I sit to think about it, I end up getting distracted and use up all my study time. This leaves me feeling furious. How can I control this?
Thank you for writing in and sharing your predicament with me. I bet it hurts when your friends call you ‘Snappy’ as you don’t mean to be that way. Angry people often cause hurt and get hurt. When you feel the anger rising inside of you, try and walk away to a quiet place. This way you can avoid saying the hurtful things your heart and mind don’t want you to say. In case there is nowhere to go, distract your mind from the anger by counting numbers backwards from 100. You could also try doing some deep breathing exercises.
Explain your anger, don’t express it. This will immediately help you open doors to solutions rather than arguments. After all, anger is one letter short of danger.You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside. When anger arises, think of the consequences. Awareness is the greatest agent of change. If you can’t figure out what has brought upon this change, you should discuss it with your friends or family – whomever you are most comfortable with. However, do this when you are calm. You could also meet with a trained counsellor who can help you work through this situation. The sooner you find the trigger to this ongoing chain of angry events, the easier it will be to take control over it. Don’t stress if you can’t figure it out, at least now on you will be well equipped to handle it when it arises again.‘Don’t hold on to anger, hurt or pain. They steal your energy and keep you from love’ – Leo F Buscaglia. Stay cool.
‘It does not matter how slow you go, so long as you do not stop’ – Confucious. Stay close to people who make you feel like sunshine. One day you’ll be just a memory to some people. Do your best to be a good one.
Do keep writing in with any queries you may have at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time, be kind.
(The columnist is psychologist and counsellor, currently working as a school counsellor.)