Giving a presentation can be a nerve-racking experience, especially if you’re not accustomed to speaking in front of large groups of people. Maybe you’re traumatized from a past presentation or speech-gone-wrong, or maybe you just want to improve your communication skills.
Either way, being able to stand up and give a room full of people a piece of your mind with confidence is an indispensable and invaluable skill to have. The downside is that nerves exist, and can always creep in no matter how prepared you might feel. So if you’ve got a big presentation coming up, here’s how to get ready for it, even if you’re nervous.
You can’t expect any presentation to go well if you never practice it. Take the time to go through, slide by slide, and rehearse what you’re going to say for each point during the presentation. Use notecards if you have to at first, and work your way up to memorizing the entire thing.
Watch yourself speak in the mirror. Take note of how your facial expressions go with the messages you’re trying to convey, and make improvements wherever necessary.
Once you rehearse your presentation to the point of memorization, you’ve gotten the boring part out of the way. You at least know that, to the best of your abilities, you can give your presentation from memory, without any errors, now it’s time for the challenging portion -doing it in front of people.
Get there early
The last thing you want is to be rushing into a meeting or conference room filled with people waiting to hear you speak, and being behind schedule. Save yourself the burden and make sure that you arrive early.
Give yourself an hour ahead of time. This gives you a chance to get a feel for the room you’re speaking in, get comfortable with the space, and set up any technology you’ll need for your presentation.
Arriving early will also give you a chance to speak with people prior to your speech or presentation. Speaking with people beforehand puts things in perspective. You’re not getting up in front of a panel of judges -you’re getting out there to educate, inform, and ultimately inspire real people!
All of your activity leading up to your presentation will affect how well your presentation will go. Speaking in front of an audience is almost guaranteed to spark an adrenaline response at some level, so making sure your body is prepared for that ahead of time is extremely important.
If you work out in the mornings, make sure to go a little bit harder the day of your presentation. Get that excess energy out beforehand, and you’re less likely to see it manifest into shaky hands or vocal chords. Even a twenty minute walk can help shake the excess jitters.
During the hour leading up to your presentation, avoid sitting down. You want to portray confidence, so make sure that you stand up! Standing displays a level of confidence, and your mind will unconsciously follow suit.
Embrace the fear
It’s not easy to embrace fear, but if you look at the fear for what it is, you might find that it’s simpler than you imagined. The physical sensations associated with nervousness and enthusiasm are oftentimes exactly the same. You might feel a ball of tension stretching from your throat all the way down to your stomach. What’s different is how we report to those physical sensations -are you afraid or excited?
Nervousness is simply the fear of getting out there and messing up in front of everyone. But what if you decided that messing up in front of everyone is okay? In reality, it is okay! The sooner you accept that you might mess up, the sooner you can get back to enthusiasm!
Use positive visualization to help break the negative cycle of fear and anxiety. Sometimes positive visualization alone doesn’t help though. In these cases, you can try any number of cannabis-based products to help alleviate your anxiety. Learn more about how cannabis can help you reduce your anxiety by reading this article on Veriheal.
Breathing is the most important thing you can do while you’re alive. You literally cannot survive without breathing, so why wouldn’t you place special attention on your breath when you’re in a high-stress setting like giving a presentation?
It’s easy to forget about breath patterns when our minds are under stress -so much so that you might completely forget to breathe. When you’re under stress, your breathing might slow down, causing tension to arise throughout your body -which will make you feel even worse!
To mitigate this, write in multiple points throughout your speech where you intentionally pause to breathe. This way you’ll have a chance to calm yourself down whether you need it or not, from one moment to the next.
Giving a presentation is like giving a performance -if you’re not prepared, it’s probably not going to go well. But if you do everything you can to prepare, you’ll be set up for success no matter what happens!