We have all experienced this. We have prepared like crazy. We are ready for the big moment (we think). Then when it arrives, we fumble and screw up. We choke. Why? And what can we do to avoid this problem?
Apparently, when we have practiced something thoroughly, the subconscious part of our brain turns this activity into an automatic one. So when, at the moment of performance, we over-try by thinking too much about our performance, we actually trip up these subconscious skills, and get in our own way.
And it seems that slowing down and taking your time is a mistake. When an action is well practiced it is much better to just jump in and do it. If you slow down you are switching gears to your conscious mind, and that’s what will screw you up.
So, if you don’t want to choke, cut off your preparation some time prior to your key moment of performance, even if you aren’t sure you’ve got everything down (you never will). After that cut off point focus on the big ideas and thoughts. Particularly the first one you will talk about. Then just talk, and stop thinking consciously. Let yourself go and enjoy the moment. It can be fun to get off your chest what you have been studying for so long. So let it go.
Once you get started, it’s really too late for the choke to kick in. You’ll hit your stride and you may not want to stop!
Don’t worry about choking. Just jump in and go! You’ll know what to do. Trust me!
All the best,