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.
- 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.
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.
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?
- 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.
If you would like to work with me
on feeling less stressed about public speaking – send an
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I offer one-on-one
coaching sessions per
Skype or in person (if you live in the Brussels area).
- Get a piece of paper and a
- 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.