Presenting in front of an audience can do a number on your nerves, especially if you have not done it before. Even those that do have experience in public speaking say it is tough. Many seasoned teachers, lecturers and other presenters feel nervous beforehand despite having given hundreds of presentations. The same is true of actors and actresses, celebrities, politicians, preachers and other people working in the media or in the public eye.
Being nervous is not a problem or a weakness, you just need to channel your nervous energy wisely. On the other hand, being over-confident and not nervous could be a weakness! There are a few things that you can do that can help you calm your nerves.
This is a given really. Write down key points from your presentation on flash cards so that you can remember them. The more you know the more confident you will be. You do not want to be standing in front of a huge audience with a blank mind and no structure to your presentation.
You should practice your presentation multiple times, ideally in front of your spouse or a friend. Seeing someone you have a connection with on a regular basis will help you present naturally and you can work on the feedback they will give you.
Practicing multiple times will also help you get into a flow of things. You will work out a pattern of key things you need to talk about. If you want to sound great try recording yourself, this way you can watch out for bad habits or key points you have missed. Remember practice makes perfect.
Listen to music to calm your nerves or to pump you up and turn nervousness into enthusiasm. This all depends on different individuals. All genres of music have equal dignity, but some genres may be particularly beneficial; research shows that certain types of music boost cognitive performance, whether it’s for a big test at school or an important presentation at work.
Aim to arrive early as there is nothing worse than being late for a presentation and end up messing up the presentation. Always arrive early so you can settle in and go over the presentation and iron out a few bits. Extra time ensures you won’t be late and gives you plenty of time to get adapted to your presentation space.
Smiling increases endorphins, replacing anxiety with calm and making you feel good about your presentation. Smiling also exhibits confidence and enthusiasm to the crowd. The audience will appreciate it, but also you will see that they are interested in your message.
No one wants to listen to someone that looks like they do not want to be there and aren’t committed to what they are presenting.
Take Deep Breaths
The go-to advice for jitters has truth to it. When we’re nervous, our muscles tighten-you may even catch yourself holding your breath. Instead, go ahead and take those deep breaths to get oxygen to your brain and relax your body. I have tried this on numerous occasions and it does work!
Drink water to stay hydrated before a presentation. A dry mouth is a common result of anxiety. Keep a bottle of water at arm’s reach while presenting in case you get dry mouth when speaking. Many people say having an alcoholic drink will calm your nerves, but one should remember this also increases the chances of you forgetting or slurring your words.