Top 3 Tips on How to Calm Your Nerves Before a Big Presentation

It is easy for your nerves to get the best of you when preparing for a big presentation.  The stakes are high and your desire to give a great presentation can leave you feeling extremely anxious.  What can you do to calm your nerves when this begins to happen?  Believe it or not there are some great tips for calming your nerves and learning to relax.  Before stepping onstage for your next big presentation, try one of these helpful tips for banishing those nerves and speaking with confidence.

Think Positive

There are plenty of studies that suggest that there really is truth when it comes to the power of positive thinking.  When we imagine a positive outcome to a scenario in our mind, it is actually more likely to happen the way we imagine it.  Rather than focusing on your nerves and thinking, “I am going to be terrible,” “what if I mess up?” or “I’m not going to be able to handle this,” imagine yourself owning the stage, speaking with confidence, and receiving a standing ovation.  Positive thoughts can be extremely powerful, and positive thinking is a highly effective strategy for calming your nerves. So, the next time you find yourself getting sucked into a stream of worrisome thoughts, be aware of your negative thoughts and shift them into a world of positivity.

Prepare and Practice

The more prepared you are for your presentation the less your nerves are going to take over.  Spend plenty of time going over you presentation and organizing your thoughts.  Practice your opening, transitions, and your conclusion over and over until you can practically do it in your sleep.  The more comfortable you are with your material, the less worried you will be that you will forget something.  Spend the most time practicing your opening, as this will set the tone for the rest of the presentation.  For many people, once they get through the first few minutes they feel much more relaxed.  For this reason, make sure you have prepared a dynamic opening that will capture the audience’s attention and get you off to a strong start.  Practice giving your presentation to friends and family and ask for any input.  If you want to deliver a great presentation, practice and preparation are essential.

Take a Deep Breath

We have all been told to “relax and take a deep breath.”  While this type of advice can sometimes seem monotonous, the truth is breathing exercises are the fastest way to calm your body when you are feeling nervous or anxious.  Scientific research has shown that deep breathing has been proven to affect the heart, the brain, digestion, and even the immune system.  Simple breathing exercises can be done by sitting with your back straight and taking in long-deep breaths then exhaling slowly.  This type of breathing trains your body’s reaction to stressful situation by reducing the production of stress hormones.  When we are nervous, our muscles tighten and we might even find ourselves holding our breath.  Instead, relax those muscles with deep slow breaths and allow that oxygen to flow freely to the brain. This go-to advice for the jitters is actually one of the most effective ways to calm your nerves.

Ultimately, we are all going to experience some sort of nervousness before a big presentation.  We can learn to channel that nervous energy into enthusiasm and calm our nerves by being well-prepared, thinking positively, and taking a few deep breaths before walking onstage.  By observing our bodies and becoming aware of our nerves, we can take the necessary steps to relax in order to deliver a confident presentation.