The Public Speaking High
Recently, I had the pleasure to be on a team of mentors, working with a young woman who recently started a business.
When it came time for her to pitch her product/business plan, she was a nervous wreck. She was so scared that she was thinking about dropping out of the program.
We worked together for a while, and she decided to stay in the program, although she was still somewhat nervous about her upcoming pitch.
The day before she was to pitch, I told her that, when it was over, she would feel one of three ways. She would be glad it was over and think that she could have done better. She would be glad it was over and feel that she did well. She would be glad it was over and want to do it again.
My bet was she would want to do it again. “No way,” she said, “I never want to go through this again.”
The eventful moment finally arrived. The mentee got up and delivered her presentation to perfection. When she sat down, I asked her how she felt. She responded with a mixture of excitement and astonishment, “I can’t believe it. I did it, and I can’t wait to do it again!”
How did I know she was going to feel this way? It was easy; it’s based on science. Much like runners who thrive on the runner’s high, public speakers often experience a similar state of euphoria.
As adrenaline courses through your system and you experience a state of stress, your body produces endocannabinoids. These chemicals are much like THC, the buzz-producing chemical in marijuana. They are released into your bloodstream and enter your brain, where they create a high or buzz. You may or may not be aware of the feeling, but your brain sure is. And often, it wants to experience that feeling again … and again … and again.
This feeling is why, as many of us know so well, speaking to audiences, for all the havoc it may wreak on our nerves, can be very addicting.