Sweaty palms, butterflies in your stomach, a dry mouth – do you recognise these signs of nerves before a big presentation? Don’t worry you’re not alone, research shows that as many as 75% of us suffer from a phobia of public speaking. In fact people often rank the fear of speaking in public above the fear of death, which means, as comedian Jerry Seinfeld joked, “at a funeral, the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.”
So based on my years of experience helping clients unlock their commercial confidence so they can engage their audience and present with flair, here are my top 5 tips to help you conquer your presentation nerves.
1. Tame Your Inner Gremlin
More often than not we are our own worst enemy when it comes to presenting as we put ourselves under extra pressure. So my first tip is to stop second-guessing what everyone else will think of your performance and adopt a positive mindset instead. Build your inner confidence by focusing on why you have the credibility to present in front of your audience.
2. Practice Really Does Make Perfect
Even the most experienced presenters rehearse their presentations beforehand – and I don’t just mean reading your notes in your head or presenting to the mirror! Set aside a decent amount of time to practise your presentation out loud and, if possible, in front of a friend or colleague. The more you rehearse, the more confident you will become and your presentation nerves will start to disappear.
3. Start As You Mean To Go On
During a presentation first impressions really do count. It’s entirely normal to feel a surge of adrenaline when you start presenting so prepare for this by writing out your first sentence in full. This way no matter how nervous you feel, you can deliver it with confidence and help banish your stage fright.
4. Walk The Talk
Your body language can have a real effect on how nervous you feel during a presentation. Whether it’s playing with your rings, fiddling with your hair – be aware of any nervous habits. Instead stand in a confident position and try moving around – it will allow you to engage better with your audience and make you feel more in control.
5. Pace Yourself
The more nervous you are before a presentation, the more tempting it can be to rush your delivery. I always tell my clients to take a deep breath before they start their presentation – this will allow more oxygen to reach your brain and help you steady your nerves.
If you need help overcoming your nerves so you can present with confidence, why not join us at our Inspired Presenting Workshop in London on 2nd June 2016. This highly interactive workshop will give you the tools and techniques to help you engage and inspire your audience.
Author: Lisa Woodward