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Adrian Pitt

Develop-meant Training Consultants


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How do you combat “The Night Before” syndrome?!


You've been asked to design and deliver a course you've not presented before. You're up for the task, the subject matter floats your boat, it's well within your knowledge, skills and experience. You LOVE designing courses!

Remember - you've not delivered the programme before! Never! Not once! Eeek!

It's bedtime, a few hours before you're due to stand up and take the limelight. How are you feeling? Like me, do you sometimes get "The Night Before" syndrome? A slight feeling of dread, coupled with nervous excitement, fear of the unknown, a spoonful of doubt and lots of "self talk"? Sound familiar?!

Is there an antidote to "The Night Before" syndrome, or, is it a good thing with no known cure?!


6 Responses

  1. Good question! I know that if
    Good question! I know that if I’m nervous before a presentation I tend to run through it a couple of times, get someone else to check it over if I’m still nervous, and then preoccupy myself with other things (usually a checklist of other chores or quick work-related bits that I can tick off easily), all that tends to calm me down!

  2. I go through exactly the same
    I go through exactly the same. I don’t sleep very well the night before as it’s on my mind a lot. I feel that it helps me though as it’s the spur/adrenaline that helps make it better. I’d worry that if it didn’t happen, it wouldn’t go well!

    1. Human nature is strange, isn
      Human nature is strange, isn’t it? Rather than think: “WOW! This course is absolutely amazing! It’s the best you’ve ever come up with, Ade! You will be brilliant! It will bring you fame and fortune!” I more often than not err on the side of caution!

  3. Hey Ade, in terms of courses,
    Hey Ade, in terms of courses, we tend to pilot them first. We get some genuine end users and the first run is one where we step in and out of ‘tutor mode’ to discuss whether elements are working or not. By the time it’s being run properly for the first time, it’s been thoroughly road tested. I’m always nervous even if I’ve run a course many times; that’s just my stupid need for perfection which I now is unreasonable but that’s me.

  4. Practice practice practice.
    Practice practice practice. The more I have practiced the less nervous I feel before, although there is always anxiety. Try and channel that anxiety into a positive, such as ‘once I’ve done this it is another area of expertise I have’, so you are really ‘up for it’ and determined to do your best. Also, be really confident about your intro, because that is when you will be most nervous and first impressions count so much.

  5. Nice question, Ade. Short
    Nice question, Ade. Short answer – I wouldn’t put myself through it. Colleagues have enthused me to come out of my comfort zone in the past. That was stressful – very stressful – however I’ve succeeded, I did it. Now I am very happy delivering (and tweeking) a portfolio of a dozen topic areas and don’t experience the stress levels of before.
    Unambitious? Yes
    Stress free? Nearly! (get a little nervous before every course).

    “If I’m nervous, I perform better” – ANDY MURRAY
    “There are two types of speakers in this world – the nervous and the liars” MARK TWAIN

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