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!
Yourself That Nervousness Isnt 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 doesnt need to paralyze you.
The more familiar you are with your materials, the more comfortable
youll feel presenting. Prepare your speech in advance and practice until
you can present it with ease. The less prepared you are, the more stressful
youll feel, and who needs that?
Get to Know the Room
If possible, visit the room in which youll be presenting.
Imagine where youll 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.
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
Greet the Audience
Try to get to the room early enough so youll have time
to get ready for your presentation. This way youll 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 its 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
Begin with a Story You Feel
Its 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! Youll 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 whos
interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. Dont apologize
for being nervous! In fact, if you dont make a public announcement about
it, they likely wont even notice.
Imagine Your Audience Naked
If all else fails, use Ron Hoffs* recommendation for overcoming
imagine your audience naked. Even if it doesnt 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.