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  • Writer's pictureSumbella

Turning Nerves into Excitement

[#facilitation + #nerves] There is a particular concept I’ve had validated by friends and colleagues over the years, and it is this:

➡️Presenting to colleagues is one of the most fear-inducing things one can do at work. 😱

So many people I’ve met agree on this. What about you?

For me, I get pre-session nerves before any presentation, no matter how many times I’ve done it, no matter if it’s a 5 min presentation or a 50 minute one, no matter who I deliver it to. I get jittery, to some degree, every single time. 🥴😬But especially when presenting in front of colleagues. This is the ultimate in nerve testing for me. It’s been this way since my first job at 16.

Concerned about this anxiety response I have whenever I am about to do work I love (very troublesome), I talked through this problem with various people over the years. Two people helped the most: a respected colleague and a smart friend.

 I remember their advice pretty much every time I am about to deliver something and feel nervous:

1️⃣ One of them said:

It’s not a bad thing, this anxiety you experience: it shows you care about what you’re going to be doing. But you need to channel it properly.

But how do you channel it? - I say.

Another said: with a bio-hack. A bio-what? - I say.

2️⃣ They said: yes - understanding your body and leveraging how it works to your advantage: in this case, know that feeling excited and feeling nervous triggers a similar response in your body.

So… knowing this, you can reframe the jitters:

e.g. you’re not nervous, you’re excited.


3️⃣Ok, I said. No matter what, each time I get these jitters, I’m going to rewire my mind to be excited, not nervous.

A little bio-hack.

And it helped me.

Today, I got those nerves again, sharing ideas about one of my all time favourite topics - #facilitation. But I tried again this practice of trading anxiety for excitement, and instead of giving those who joined my nervous energy, I think/hope I shared excited energy bubbles instead.

It was so fun to do this session with them - colleagues from all corners of Cambridge University Press & Assessment, as part of our week long #lovetolearnfestival.

Learning, and teaching, can both be a pretty hairy ride - it’s not that straightforward. How grateful I am to have company on the rollercoaster. A special thanks to Andrew Field for the solid encouragement and the amazingly fun tool I used in this session - which I shall forever call “The Great Reveal”. Thank you to Simon Lind, Laura Eve Mitcham, and Anup Singh Khichi - among others, for taking some time to join in and engage throughout!

#overtoyou, teachers! Do you ever get pre-lesson nerves before teaching? Before presenting to colleagues? How do you manage?

📸: pre-session nerves. This was right before the session. It really be like this. “Excited, excited, excited” she chants…! 😬

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