How to Manage Nerves
Facilitator Tips Episode 48

How To Manage Nerves


This week’s Facilitator Tips episode focuses on a topic that impacts almost all leaders and group facilitators – how to manage nerves when standing in front of a group of people, especially if you don’t know them.


<< Go to Episode 47   Go to Episode 49 >>


It’s natural to have butterflies in your stomach, but as the saying goes, the trick is how to train them to fly in formation.

Even the most experienced facilitators get nervous from time to time – so this video tutorial shares the most useful strategies to keep those nerves under control.

Click the play button above to learn a few useful strategies you can use to control your nerves.


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Useful Links & Resources


  • Unofficial Starts – this was mentioned as one of the strategies to help you calm your nerves, especially at the beginning of your program.
  • Facilitator Tips Video Tutorial series –  here are dozens of tips and strategies you can employ to help you control your nerves, from how to remember names to ways to engage unwilling or difficult people.


Video Transcript


Hi there and welcome to the Facilitator Tips video series.

My name is Mark Collard, I work as an experiential trainer and an author, and we’re up to Episode 48.

And in this episode, I want to focus on how do you manage nerves. Now I’ve been leading groups for well over forty years of my life, thirty of them professionally where I got paid. And so it’s really easy for people to look at me and go oh man, you made that look so easy, do you ever get nervous. The quick answer is yes, I still get nerves, but I will say I’ve got some great strategies in place now that help me manage them, and this episode is about sharing a few of those ideas.

The first one is prep. Look, what do they say, if you fail to plan then you plan to fail. That’s true. I never like to just turn up and go I’m just going to wing it today. Look, there’s a certain amount of experience that will get me out of trouble on those occasions, but honestly, I will feel a lot more nervous on those occasions unless of course, I’ve spent the time to prepare my group.

Fail-proof activities. You’ve got to have a set of experiences up your sleeve that you can just pull out in a moment’s notice that often builds energy, keeps the group busy, and that maybe doesn’t even need a lot of supervision. And that will also calm your nerves because once you’ve got some of that stuff going on, things are just a lot easier, a lot easier to get success.

Building energy. Anything you can do to build energy will always help me calm down. If I’m working with a cold room, a group that’s not even looking to each other, don’t know each other’s names and it’s all very cold, that makes me even more nervous. Once people start to warm up, loosen up, interact… Build energy, critical strategy.

To connect. What I try to do is connect with one or more people as the program starts to get going, or maybe in the unofficial start, is to understand hey, if I can get to know some people’s names I can then use their eyeline, I can then build some rapport with them and that really helps me feel a lot more grounded, a lot less nervous because I know something, I’ve made a connection with people. Again that goes to that whole concept of to connect before content.

I mentioned the unofficial starts. All of what I’ve just shared here comes under that heading, so absolutely check out Episode 43 of this series which talks greatly about unofficial starts.

And then finally be authentic. A group will be able to see through you a mile away, and if they can understand like in terms of a crap-o-meter, like this is just crap, he’s trying to be something he’s not, people sniff that out really quickly. Look, if you are nervous it’s okay to say this… like, oh, I’ve never done this before, I’m not sure how this is going to work out. People will often come along for the ride if you’re just being genuine.

Okay, and there’s a whole lot to share in this space, and so I encourage you to reach out to me. hello@playmeo.com is a great way to connect with me, but there are many people you can connect with within the Playmeo ecosystem as well. Leave a comment for example. And if you found some value in this and would like to share this with your colleagues you are absolutely more than welcome.

Okay, that’s it for Episode 48, and you can find more show notes at www.playmeo.com Episode 48.

Until the next episode, I hope you have a great time. Bye for now.


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