It’s not easy getting ready for a big presentation. The stakes can seem high and your desire to do well can lead to increased anxiety. As the anticipation builds, fear or even complete paralysis can kick in. What can you do to clear your mind and alleviate some of this stress before you present? The brain is the most powerful organ in your body so properly harnessing this power through mental exercises can reduce stress and anxiety. Here are 5 exercises that you can do to clear your mind and take control of your emotions.
Creative visualization is the art of using mental imagery and affirming thoughts to create positive outcomes in your life. This mindful exercise can be used to promote success in any area of your life, including your ability to present in public. Visualization involves sitting in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. You begin to form mental images in your head of what you want. In this case, it would be presenting successfully while an engaged audience looks on with interest. You literally visualize yourself speaking with confidence and doing everything right. It is an incredibly powerful exercise that can have a significant impact on helping you achieve your goals.
There is plenty of truth to this go-to advice for pre-presentation jitters. When we get nervous our muscles tighten and we might even find ourselves holding our breath. Deep breathing will help to relax those muscles so that oxygen can get to your brain and calm your body.
Meet and Greet
One great way to reduce stress and take your mind off of your nerves is by conducting a meet and greet prior to your presentation. When you chat with people right before you speak, it helps to loosen you up, connect with your audience, and make you appear more likeable. You might not feel like you are talking to a group of strangers if you meet a few of the people beforehand.
Practice Positive Self-Talk
You are your own biggest critic (and also your own biggest advocate.) What you say and think is largely responsible for your mood. Instead of beating yourself up and worrying about everything that could go wrong, channel your inner critic by practicing positive self-talk. Say positive things out loud to yourself such as: “I am going to do a great job.” “I am well-prepared and knowledgeable.” “I can do this.” When we say it out loud we start to believe it.
Schedule a time to exercise earlier in the day before your presentation. Exercise boosts endorphins that help to alleviate anxiety. It also gets your blood flowing so that oxygen is being delivered to your brain. This helps your body to relax and feel more at ease. Exercise also gives us more energy and we can channel that energy into enthusiasm.