Some people seem to be born with a natural eloquence and ability to speak confidently in front of a crowd. But, those who can genuinely do this without any nerves or self doubt, are very few and far between. Most people find public speaking tough. However, there are ways you can calm your nerves before a presentation.
Fear of public speaking is very real and debilitating. It can cause physical or emotional symptoms like nausea, sweaty palms, anxiety, or feelings of panic. But, there really are several techniques to help you overcome your fears.
Embrace your nerves
Being nervous actually produces more adrenaline in our bodies. Adrenaline makes you think faster and more fluently. So you can use this adrenaline to your advantage. Try and use those jitters by harnessing them and transferring them into enthusiasm and passion.
If you strive to become some kind of ‘super speaker’ and this is not authentic, you will come across as such. No one gets it perfect and neither will you. By allowing yourself the freedom to be imperfect you can concentrate on being yourself and this will be far more impactful.
Know your subject
Preparation is everything. If you know your audience and topic well you are a credible source of information and this will give you confidence. Make sure your purpose is clear. Your message should be well ordered, correct and factual. Refer back to research already conducted, statistics or quotes from well respected figures. This reinforces the credibility of your presentation. If you still don’t feel credible, you can also directly address this by telling your audience you understand that they may be surprised or be sceptical, but you have done your research and you know what you are talking about.
Engage the audience
Presentations, by their very nature, can be a one sided affair. By asking the audience what they think and inviting engagement you will make them feel engaged and welcomed. This will also turn your presentation into a group dialogue which will help reduce your anxiety.
Remember to take deep breaths and smile
Once nerves take over, it can be difficult to regain composure. Take a moment and breathe. A good deep breath will get oxygen to your brain and relax your body. Couple this with smiling. This simple act will release endorphins, making your calmer. Smiling also shows you are confident and enthusiastic. Just be sure to keep it natural.
Many studies have proven the power of positivity. If we imagine a positive outcome, it is more likely to play out this way. Likewise, if you imagine a negative outcome. So it pays to think positively! Instead of going over all the things you think might go wrong, or telling yourself you can’t do it, imagine yourself doing it perfectly. This alone can be incredibly effective, so give it a try.
It may seem obvious but the more you go over your presentation and practice over and over, the more likely you are to get it right. If you can, go and practice in the place you will be giving the presentation. Use the equipment you will be using on the day, so you are comfortable and identify any glitches in advance. This will give you a familiarity and help to calm nerves. Try delivering it in different ways; standing up, sitting down, moving around etc. the more you practice, the more comfortable you will feel. You could even take a recording of your presentation and play it back. This will help you evaluate areas you need to work on.
Engage in Learning provide online courses to help you make perfect presentations. Our Planning a Powerful Presentations course will help you structure your ideas clearly, be aware of your audience and their needs, and use visuals that impact to enhance your presentations.