Presenting is nerve-wracking, stressful and uncomfortable for many. But it can also be rewarding, exhilarating and incredibly educational. Some people love presenting. Others dread it and outright avoid it. One thing is for sure… all of us will have to experience it sometime during our professional lives. If you suffer from stage fright, how can you learn to ignore the fear? First, stop biting those nails and second, read the information below!

Remind Yourself That Nervousness Isn’t All Bad
A little nervousness can give you an edge. It can give you the energy you need to dig deep and do a really good job. Accept your nervousness – it doesn’t need to paralyze you.

Practice
The more familiar you are with your materials, the more comfortable you’ll feel presenting. Prepare your speech in advance and practice until you can present it with ease. The less prepared you are, the more stressful you’ll feel, and who needs that?

Get to Know the Room
If possible, visit the room in which you’ll be presenting. Imagine where you’ll stand and where your podium and visual aids will be. If you can, have a dress rehearsal in the room. Doing this will help you feel at ease during your presentation.

Breathe Deeply
Deep breathing can be very relaxing before an important presentation. If feeling overwhelmed by your nerves, take a seat, close your eyes and breathe in slowly. Hold your breath for four or five seconds, then slowly exhale. Repeat this exercise several times, until you regulate your breathing and your heart rate steadies.

Greet the Audience
Try to get to the room early enough so you’ll have time to get ready for your presentation. This way you’ll have a few extra minutes to greet and chat with the audience members as they enter the room. Doing this may help calm your nerves since it’s easier presenting to a few familiar faces than a group of complete strangers.

Take a Walk
Another way of getting rid of pre-presentation jitters is to take a brisk five-minute walk. The movement of your body will help release feelings of nervousness.

Begin with a Story You Feel Comfortable Telling
It’s a good idea to open any presentation with a story, especially one you know gets a good response from an audience. However, the story should relate to the presentation topic. If you have a story that you tell well and that relates to your presentation, use it! You’ll gain confidence sharing a story you tell well.

Realize Your Audience Wants You to Succeed
When a speaker is stumbling over his words and is visibly nervous, the audience feels uncomfortable. People want to listen to someone who’s interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. Don’t apologize for being nervous! In fact, if you don’t make a public announcement about it, they likely won’t even notice.

Imagine Your Audience Naked
If all else fails, use Ron Hoff’s* recommendation for overcoming nervousness… imagine your audience naked. Even if it doesn’t calm your nerves, at least it will lighten your mood.

*Ron Hoff is the author of I Can See You Naked: A Fearless Guide to Making Great Presentations.


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