Anyone who has been on stage will attest to what a frightening experience it can be. The palpitations, dry mouth, quivering voice and trembling hands are all very real reactions to public speaking. Even celebrities aren’t immune to it. Rihanna, Adele, Harry Styles and Jennifer Lawrence have all reported feeling anxiety and dread before big public speaking gigs.
The good news is they survived and so will you. With some preparation, you can channel all your nervous energy into delivering a great presentation that not only communicates the information well, but also helps you stand out.
Here are some tips to help you overcome public speaking jitters:
Know your audienceAre you speaking to a large gathering or a handful of people? Who are these people and what companies do they represent? Researching the venue and the people attending your presentation can help you mentally prepare for the gig.
Public speaking experts also recommend arriving early and networking with individual audience members or groups of people to ease matters for you. If you loathe the idea of making the first move, here are some tips to help you network.
Avoid jokesIf you’re a nervous speaker then it’s best to eliminate jokes and backstories. The last thing you need is for a joke to fall flat, or worse one that elicits a negative reaction from the audience. Focus on the content of your presentation instead and ensure it conveys the message succinctly. While we don’t recommend memorising your entire presentation, rehearsing and knowing the first couple of lines by heart will give you a strong start and just the confidence you need.
Exercise on presentation dayScience says exercising has a positive impact on the brain and its ability to handle stress. Sure, you may not be in the mood for a high intensity workout - but why not go for a brisk walk or a Pilates class - it’s certainly better than ruminating over your presentation.
Let your presentation do the talkingMost people are visual learners and therefore they’re more likely to remember content that uses pictures and videos. The other benefit of using visual aids is that it takes the attention of you while keeping your audience engaged. Be sure to only use pictures and videos that are relevant and illustrate the talking points of your presentation.
Practice, practice, practiceOnce you’ve got your content in order, make sure to rehearse your presentation several times, preferably with an audience. Preparation isn’t limited to verbal content alone - practice non-verbal cues like posture, body language and facial expressions.
By employing these tips and tricks, we’re certain you will rock the presentation. Good luck!