We’re now going to look at anything that might stop you being confident in your presentation. ie those nerves that can kick in the minute you start to think about having to present.
Its important to think about why people get nervous and the effects nerves can have on you when you present. There are all sorts of symptoms that can be created through nerves. And sometimes they can manifest themselves quite a lot when people present.
So the more you are aware of them and aware of the fact that its quite normal to feel nervous then the more that you can actually start to overcome them.
Preparing yourself to present
The first thing is to think about is preparing yourself for your presentation.
We’ve already covered preparing your presentation – ie the planning, structuring, the visual aids etc but there’s also you – the presenter and how best to prepare yourself.
Obviously the benefits of proper planning are very important – and will certainly help to reduce nerves. However there are other things that you can do to fully take control of the nerves before you present.
The benefits of breathing are often overlooked but this one simple technique can reall help to calm you and slow you down. Have a look at our article on breathing techniques to overcome presentation nerves for some more background on this.
When you are nervous you probably also speed up your speech. So controlling the speed that you speak at is a good way to help control your nerves.
There are lots of other physical strategies that people employ to help reduce nerves and focus their minds and we’ll cover several more in a later article.
There are also some key pyschological techniques that you can apply to help you to kick out those negative thoughts that can creep into your mind and reduce your confidence.
These techniques can help you to maintin a positive mental attitude towards your presentation and help you remain in control if any negative thoughts start to creep into your mind.
One technique is to imagine that the presentation has just taken place – and it that was successful.
Spend time imagining that success – and how you feel at that time. Imagine the voices and other sounds that you hear at the end of the presentation and what the audiences’ faces look like and what else you can see in the room. Take time to imagine all of the positives about the presentation that made it a success.
A lot of the time our imagination focuses on the negatives – so forcing it to focus on the positive can help to turn things around and will help build your confidence.
Rehearsing the presentation
We’ll also look at the practical techniques of how to rehearse and to actually apply the techniques you have developed to all sorts of presentations that you might actually do without even realising it because experience is obviously one of the best ways to get rid of your nerves. The more presentation experience you have the more confident you will feel.
Finally we’ll look at how to control that nervous energy just before you present – what you can do that 3 minutes before you present, what you can do 20 seconds before you start and also what you can do during your presentation if the nerves start to kick in again and how to try and control things.