Updated: Jun 30, 2020
Nervous energy is good. It means that you care. Learning how to use the nervous energy to pump you up instead of paralyzing you is not as hard as you might think. Here are a few things that you can do to reduce your nerves prior to a presentation.
Close your eyes and visualize yourself delivering a fabulous presentation. Imagine what it will feel like when the audience starts to clap.
Take a few deep breaths before you speak.
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Find an empty room and run through the entire presentation. Time yourself, make sure that your timing matches the agenda. If your timing is off, change the agenda or change your presentation.
Prepare for Q & A ahead of time by anticipating questions and preparing the answers. If you do not know the answer to a question, just state that you do not know and move on.
Have an outline or notes and place the outline where you can see it. Do not hold it!
Focus on the audience NOT on your nervousness. You are there for their benefit. Get the audience involved, ask them a question and pick on someone to answer the question.
If you are really petrified, memorize the opening remarks. Usually a speaker calms down after a few minutes.
Trust the audience. They want you to succeed!
Decide what is the worst thing that can happen to you. Then decide how you would respond if that worst thing really happened. (It’s not going to happen but at least you will have a plan which should calm your nerves). I know a woman who lost her skirt during a presentation. It just fell down, luckily she had a slip on and a flip chart was close by. She dashed behind the flip chart and pulled her skirt back up.
Find opportunities to speak. The more you speak, the better you get.
Get yourself videotaped. You will notice that your knees are not shaking, no one can see the butterflies in your stomach and your voice is not trembling! Do not tell the audience that you are nervous, they will not be able to tell.
If you want to schedule a Presentation Skills program for your employees, give us a call at 845-294-7089. We videotape every participant and provide specific feedback.