Flop Sweat. Getting Beyond It

The speaker had flop sweat running down from each temple. The speaker felt sick as if ready to heave at any second. As the speaker stared into the mirror, the only image looking back was a pale, almost unrecognizable, figure. There were only five minutes to get a grip and face the audience.

 The speaker’s audience was a room full of peers. In the front row would be all of the top executives of the company. The executives would be expecting an upbeat introduction to the company’s newest product line. The rest of the audience was there to see a crash and burn scenario or at least that is how the speaker saw it.

 As the new, up and coming marketing team member, this was the speaker’s opportunity to shine for the executives . Unless of course the speech was a miserable failure, then this would be a chance blown.

Flop sweat is when your body, and even more so your mind, begins to do a number on your nerves. You sweat, you get a chill, you get sick to your stomach and your face can turn pale.

Flop sweat is brought on by negative thoughts before a appearing before an audience to speak, present, act, sing or merely just to stand up and speak your mind.

Flop sweat is not unusual and you are not alone if you experience it.

 Remember to do these things during an episode of flop sweat:

  • Breath deeply and calm yourself
  • Visualize success in front of the audience, receiving the reaction you would want
  • Stretch
  • Try being Rocky Balboa for a few minutes. Duck and weave; throw a few air punches.
  • Walk and repeat positive reassurances, even out loud if necessary
  • Get behind yourself. In other words, put your full confidence in your abilities
  • When you are introduced, walked out confidently and take command

Nancy and I went to see Saturday Night Live at the NBC Studios at Rockefeller Center. The opening skit took place in a men’s room where the guest host,  Donald Pleasence, expressed his nervousness.  Eddie Murphy encouraged Pleasance that  he should vomit for luck. As Eddie left the bathroom there was a flush and John Belushi walked out of the bathroom stall, stared into the camera, and said nothing. It would be Belushi’s last appearance on the show. The point was, even Belsuhi was nervous before performing.

Patrick Lencioni, author of ‘Five Dysfunctions of a Team’ and ‘Death by Meeting’ told a story on a conference call today. His new book, ‘The Advantage’, is keeping him very busy. He is an extremely enjoyable speaker, but his schedule is presently, very stressful.

Pat said the best advice he received about speaking was, “Get there early, envision what success would be like, breath a lot and find a way to connect with the people you are talking to. I try to break the wall down between me and the audience.”

Prevent flop sweat by being calm, envisioning success and breathing deep. You are not alone.

The speaker took deep breaths, stood up straight and smiled into mirror. This presentation WILL go well and the executives WILL clearly see how great the new products will launch. And, most importantly, the speaker envisions every colleague smiling and clapping enthusiastically at the end of the presentation.

 And that is exactly what happened.

Have you ever experienced flop sweat? How did you get beyond it? What tips can you give to prevent flop sweat?

More information on flop sweat: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/men/sweating-odor/flop-sweat.htm

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