It’s not easy preparing for a big presentation. The stakes might be high and your desire to do well can cause anxiety and anticipation to build up. When fear and anxiety kick in, it can be extremely difficult to maintain enough composure to deliver a dynamic presentation. Therefore, it is important to learn how to calm your nerves in order to relax and stay focused on the presentation.
Practice in Front of Others
Any presenter understands the importance of rehearsing their presentation. Invite a few family members and close friends over and practice your presentation in front of them. Ask for open and honest feedback and make notes of your strengths and weaknesses. You might even have someone record your presentation so you can watch it back and make any necessary changes.
Transform Nervous Energy into Enthusiasm
When you feel your nerves getting the best of you, have a cup of coffee or an energy drink and turn up your favorite music. The idea is that you are turning your jitters into focused enthusiasm. Studies have shown that audiences prefer an enthusiastic speech over an eloquent one so this will help you get energized before going on stage.
Be an Early Bird
Nothing will add to your nerves more than rushing around to get things set up for your presentation. Instead, arrive early and allow yourself plenty of time to get settled before you begin. It allows you to adjust to your surroundings and do last-minute sound checks and technology checks. When you know everything is ready and in working order, it will help to calm your anxiety.
Meet and Greet
Another advantage to arriving early is that it gives you time for a little meet and greet before your presentation. Talking with audience members makes you seem more likable and approachable. This is a great way to connect with your audience before you even begin. You might also gather a little inspiration from these conversations to weave into your presentation.
You don’t have to be a master of Zen to enjoy the benefits of positive visualization. This technique has been proven to be effective in calming presentation anxiety. Instead of picturing yourself tripping and falling or thinking that you are going to be terrible, imagine yourself getting lots of laughs and really nailing your presentation. Positive thinking can be an incredibly effective method for calming your nerves.
Take Deep Breaths
Everyone is familiar with the idea of taking a deep breath before walking on stage and that’s because it really works! When you are nervous, your muscles begin to tighten and some people even start holding their breath. Instead, take a few deep breaths to get oxygen to your brain and relax your body.
Dry mouth is a common result of anxiety. You can prevent this from happening by staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water before you present. You should also keep a bottle of water with you while you are chatting with audience members and even keep one close by during your presentation.
We can’t all deliver the most powerful speeches but there are plenty of simple things you can do to help calm your presentation anxiety. Try these techniques before your next presentation and turn your jitters into enthusiasm and energy.