The mere thought of public speaking can put many of us into premature stage fright! Imagine standing in front of a dozen or more people and giving a presentation. It is a nightmare for some of us, especially if we haven’t done it before. But even for people who have had considerable public speaking experience, giving presentations is always riddled with a few uncertainties.
There has to be a way to get rid of the pre-presentation jitters and stay calm during the course of it. The good news is that there are many things that you can do to stay calm during a presentation. And most of the things we talk about here are easy to do. The basic idea behind staying calm is to be able to deliver what you came to deliver. If during the presentation, you are unable to meet your delivery objectives, you will be deemed a failure. And not because you didn’t know what you wanted to say but because you were just too nervous to say it right.
Here are some pointers to help you stay calm during a presentation:
• Practice: When you don’t practice what you have to say or present, jitters are a norm. Make sure that whatever it is that you have to present is practiced beforehand. You can ask a friend to help you. Give a mock presentation to your friend. Use the presentation slides you have prepared as you would in a real presentation. Ask your friend to ask questions and practice answering them.
• Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm: Listen to pumped up music prior to your presentation. Or if you feel that calming music will have a more soothing effect on you, use that instead. Do what works for you. Drink some ginger tea to calm your nerves. If an energy drink does the trick for you, down one. At times, if you are excited about something, you may be looking at success right in the face. Show your enthusiasm for the subject matter that you are presenting.
• Adjust to your surroundings: If you have never been in the presentation room before, chances of you being distracted during the presentation are many. Acquaint yourself with the surroundings. Arrive early and look around. You may be able to use something in the room as an example for the subject matter you are presenting. And the audience will deem you a genius!
• Take deep breaths: Never hold your breath during a presentation. Keep breathing. Smile as much as appropriate.
• Power Stance: Positive body language is the key to success here. When your body physically demonstrates confidence, the tongue follows suit.
Just remember that there isn’t much that you can do during a presentation to stay calm. Most of what you can do is before. How you carry yourself and deliver a presentation will depend on what you did prior to it!