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The Voice Coach gives you tips on what you can do to feel less
      stressed about a presentationemail: info@thevoicecoach.be

How to feel less stressed about your next presentation

Ok, let's face it. Speaking in front of other people can be very intimidating.
So what can we do to deal with our nerves, when they can almost paralyze us when we are about to speak? I know that trying to calm down our nerves is a good strategy, but what if we put too much pressure on ourselves to calm down - like telling ourselves: “I have to stay calm, I have to stay calm, etc.“ - usually that has the exact opposite effect. So here are strategies that can help you accept (!) your nervousness, turn your stress into something positive and use that energy for your next compelling presentation/speech/performance.
  1. Already said, but: Accept that you are going to be nervous. Know that come day X your knees will be shaking, your mouth will feel dry and you will wish you were in a place far far away from here. That's normal! Tell yourself:“It's ok to be nervous – I was expecting that!“ Also accept that your presentation/speech/performance won't be perfect. You are a human being and you might make some mistakes, that's ok -you will still give it your best shot.

  2. Plan, Prepare, Rehearse. Plan what you are going to say, how you are going to say it, where you will make a pause, where you will point when you are saying what. Prepare all the media you are going to use, prepare what you are going to wear, prepare a bottle of water in case your mouth gets dry. Prepare a little reward for yourself for the moment after you have given your presentation. Rehearse EVERY little detail about what, how, when, why and where you are going to say it. The more you have practiced, the less stressed you will be once the presentation starts. You will still be stressed before, but your brain will already know what comes next and that will help you to keep on going.

  3. Focus on what you want your audience to hear. Shift the focus from your possibly raspy trembling voice to the content of your presentation. Ask yourself for example: what are the 3 major things you want your audience to take home after they have listened to you? What information do YOU want to give to them. And it doesn't matter whether your boss made you do this presentation. It is YOU who is presenting it, so what do YOU want people to take away from this?

  4. Know that people don't really care that much. I don't know how many times I pointed out after a performance or presentation that I forgot x, y or z or that I was really nervous and they went: „Really? I didn't notice“. People usually only care about what is relevant to them. Whether you are trembling or your voice is raspy or your power point slides have the old logo on it (unless your presentation is about the new logo...) - it just doesn't matter. So you can stop worrying about people noticing your nervousness and focus on making your presentation relevant to them.
  • Get a piece of paper and a pen.
  • Reflect on your last public speaking situation and write down what you could have done differently, knowing what you know now.
  • Write down 3 things you are going to do differently next time.
If you would like to work with me on feeling less stressed about public speaking – send an e-mail to info@thevoicecoach.be. I offer one-on-one coaching sessions per Skype or in person (if you live in the Brussels area).

Sonja Nannan




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