Your stomach is queasy, your palms are sweaty, and your mind has gone blank about your opening lines. What will you be like when you've been introduced and the room goes quiet? Are you doomed to presentation panic or paralysis, or can you overcome that debilitating nervousness and deliver a speech that wows the audience? (Or at least leaves them feeling satisfied?)
If you are like most people, then public speaking or presenting is one of your major fears. Yet these skills are often called upon. It might not be to an audience of hundreds, but giving presentations to staff or even team members is a common enough occurrence. You owe it to yourself to develop some strategies and techniques to manage your nerves so you can concentrate on delivering an effective and engaging presentation.
Notice we didn't say to get rid of your nervousness. This is because presenting is not a natural activity; even the most practiced presenters get a bit nervous. The point is this: your nervous energy can be used to your advantage. When you are in a heightened state from the adrenaline that is being pumped into your body, you can use that energy to communicate enthusiastically, convincingly, and passionately. The key is to decrease your level of nervousness so you can use your energy on these positive activities, not on trying to control your nerves.
So, to harness your nervousness and bring it under control, there are six key tips to remember. These tips are all designed to help you focus on your audience and their needs rather than on yourself and how you are feeling. They all stem from one truism:
The more uncertain you are, the more nervous you will be.
The more you can control the uncertainty, the less nervousness you will experience and the more residual energy you will have to devote to the presentation itself.
Consult your audience before your presentation. The more confident you are that you are presenting them with useful and interesting material for them, the less nervous you will be overall. You really don't want your presentation to be a surprise. If it is, you lose complete control over the audience's reaction and that is a large factor in nervousness. So:
"When I started using Mind Tools, I was not in a supervisory position. Now I am. Along with that came a 12% increase in salary." – Pat Degan, Houston, USA
This ensures that you don’t lose your plan.
Please enter your username or email address and we'll send you a reminder.
Your log in details have been sent to the email account you registered with. Please check your email to reset your login details.
Please check your Inbox, and click on the link in the email from us. We can then send you the newsletter.