Even the most experienced public speaker will still feel the butterflies aflutter before a big presentation. Nerves are an important part of our instincts – and they help drive us to perform at our best. Nevertheless, if your stomach is doing the major flips and flops before your big speech, here are some ideas on how to calm your nerves before you take the stand:
Go ahead and be nervous
Worrying about worrying is just plain silly – and a little bit of nerves will help you feel energized and helps your presentation come alive. Accept your nervousness and use it effectively rather than trying to stifle your feelings, which can make your speech seem dull and lethargic.
Take a deep breath, take many of them. Breathing gives life to the cells in your body and will help you relax. Breathing also ensures you keep a steady pace throughout your presentation – it’ll help you slow down and speak more clearly.
Go slower than you think you need to. It will allow your audience more time to absorb and interpret the information you’ve presented and it also gives you the ability to collect your thoughts and think about what comes next. Preparing for the next step is an essential part of maintaining a calm and controlled exterior.
Hold on to something
Having something in your hands helps you feel more grounded and centered. A minimal amount of fiddling won’t impact the effectiveness of your presentation and can help calm you down. Take something simple along that won’t be distracting (avoid clicking pens!).
Trust yourself and your management training to deliver a successful business presentation – don’t try and be someone else. Communicate in the manner you’re used to – words and expressions that aren’t yours come out sounding artificial and awkward and will increase your level of discomfort.
Boost your confidence with a quick brush up on your presentation skills. Don’t bite off more than you can chew – practice making presentations to smaller groups before you tackle larger audiences. Practice really does make perfect and the more experienced you become, the easier it’ll be to work your audience and feel at ease.