Getting nervous before making a presentation is a natural feeling. Many seasoned people feel nervous before their presentation despite of years of experience and knowledge. The same is true with experts of the industry. Being nervous is neither a problem nor a weakness. One should channel their nervousness wisely to deliver an effective and impactful presentation.
If you are in public and presenting is one of your biggest fears, then you should overcome this fear by following some simple tips. Remember that you cannot get rid of nervousness, as it is a natural feeling. You should try to cope up with presentation nerves rather than trying to get rid of it. When you are in a state of nervousness, you should use that energy to communicate effectively and passionately. The key to decrease the level of nervousness is to use that energy in positive activities without trying to control it.
Presentation Nerves – What It is and What are Its Symptoms?
Presentation nerves often have symptoms such as – sweaty palms, queasy feeling in stomach, blank mind, dry throat and panic. Human fears are shown commonly in public and it is common for all t become nervous in front of large audience. Physically, nervousness is associated with increased heart rate, weakness, quivering voice, shortness of breath, headache and even fainting.
Despite of the big list of symptoms, the good news is that there are no side effects or negative consequences of nervousness. Remember that audience cannot see how you feel, until and unless you express it or exhibit though your behavior. Therefore, if you learn to stay calm and peaceful, audience perceives and believes that you are confident and are not nervous.
Tips to Cope Up with Presentation Nerves
There are some easy tips to harness your nervousness and bring it under control. These tips help you focus on audience rather than on yourself. The more you control your nervousness, the more residual energy you will have to make the presentation successful.
Tip 1 – Prepare and practice
Research more on the subject you are going to talk about. Craft the content in such a way that you know each and every thing in the material. Proper practice helps you avoid poor performance. The key to ensure a winning presentation is rehearse aloud in front of a large group. Record the rehearsal and review the performance. Replace negative thinking with affirmations to strengthen your thoughts.
Tip 2 – Know the audience
Do a little research to find what your audience expects from your presentation. Arrive early to the venue and talk to a few individual audience about what they want. This way you will have friendly faces to focus on when you take the stage. Besides this, a friendly conversation helps you relax the nerves and sets the stage for a personable speaking, rather than public speaking. Remember that audience wants you to succeed and hence are on your side. They don’t know when you make mistake. So, instead of announcing that you made a mistake, stay calm and quite.
Tip 3 – Exercise lightly and take a deep breath to stay calm
Find a private area beforehand where you can do some stretches and knee-bends. You can even take a brisk walk in the hall to get rid of excess energy from the body. In addition to this, take several deep breathes by inhaling through the nose on a slow count. Deep breath floods the brain with sufficient amount of oxygen, which eventually reduces the nervousness.
Tip 4 – Make use of visualization techniques
Imagine that you are delivering an effective presentation with audience reacting positively. Mark this positive image in your mind and recall it just before you start the presentation. Sometimes, you may not feel nervous until the moment your presentation starts. You may feel calm and prepared, but some unknown feeling strikes you just before the presentation. If you are in plain sight, try to calm your brain by deep breathing or visualizing a successful presentation.
Tip 5 – Memorize the first few lines of your presentation
The toughest part of any presentation is getting started. Despite of trying hard to manage your anxiety, you will feel nervous. As a result of which speakers often forget the initial lines of their presentation. This will eventually lead to a poor presentation. To avoid this, short-circuit your mind by memorizing the first few lines of your presentation. This will shift your brain out of panic mood and retrieve the information easily.
Tip 6 – Self-talk
Self-talk help you to overcome nervousness, especially before a presentation. Anxiety always grabs the attention of critical talks. You will get multiple questions in mind that ‘what happens if the slide show fails? What happen if they laugh at me? What if my rehearsal plan fails? And so on. Self-talk help you overcome such situation and make you feel confident. You should keep talking that this is possible and I can do it easily. You should talk to yourself about managing the presentation well, regardless of the environment.
The above tips are not the last word on dealing with presentation nerve, but these tips can certainly help. One of the biggest tips to remember is to be well prepared. The only thing that is scarier than presenting in front of large audience is being unsure of your content and yourself. So, it is better you prepare the content well and rehearse as much as possible.
To Sum Up
Managing presentation nerves help you recognize and understand nervousness that may arise during presentations. Presentation nerves, also known as performance anxiety is not necessarily harmful. A slightly increased nervousness can always motivate you to do the work, so that you get prepared for the event.
The bottom line is everyone feels nervousness and anxiety about the presentation before their presentation. Use the above tips and techniques to calm down your nerves and don’t let your nerves stop you from speaking. When you are calm and confident, you are likely to reap multiple benefits such as – likeability, visibility and impactful. You will increase your career opportunities drastically.