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Presentation Nerves

Coping With Presentation Nerves – just look for the friendly faces

I am often asked questions about how to avoid nerves and anxiety as a presenter, particularly from people who are  required to do some public speaking in their job, but only on an irregular basis …….. My response is that it’s  unlikely you’ll ever be able to eliminate nerves completely, whilst you’re only giving presentations on an occasional basis.

In other words, I have found that more often than not, it is gaining additional experience that is the major factor in building confidence. When you are only delivering them occasionally, then presentations will continue to feel somewhat unfamiliar, and therefore some anxiety will be natural.

So the question becomes not so much how to avoid the anxiety, but how to deal with those inevitable nerves. One very useful tip that was offered to me early in my consulting career was to focus your gaze upon those people in your audience who are showing clear signs of interest …..the people who want to be there, and who seem to be looking forward to hearing what you have to say!

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By making early eye contact with these “friendly faces”, I found that my confidence would grow, and then I could gradually become more inclusive with eye contact – and not be so daunted by possibly seeing one or two audience members give off “negative vibes”. Combined with this strategy, I would also remind myself that the vast majority of audience members had an interest in what I was to be speaking about, and that they wanted to hear what I had to say.

  • Learning to Control Public Speaking Anxiety

Four ideas for managing anxiety as a presenter are offered, using the memory tag CALM  to describe the ideas ……

  1. C is for confidence, which will be founded upon solid preparation and knowledge of your topic
  2. A is for accepting that anxiety is natural and learn to harness the nervous energy
  3. L for loosen up through deep breathing and relaxing muscular tension in the body – but also keeping the presentation in its proper perspective and not imagining that every aspect of your delivery must be perfect
  4. M is for momentum that will be established once you get successfully through the first couple of minutes

Presentation Articles For Download ….

There are many other proven strategies that can be used to help you cope with presentation nerves and also self-improvement, and I would encourage you to visit my website – Performance Development– where there are further articles offering a variety of practical tips

  • Controlling “Stage Fright” and Presentation Anxiety

I came across a short video by Bill Lampton, a prominent U.S professional speaker, who shares some  good advice on controlling presentation nerves and stage-fright. His tips include ….

  1. Feeling well-prepared will quite obviously help to reduce anxiety
  2. Keep a sense of perspective – one presentation that doesn’t go perfectly will not ruin your career.
  3. The symptoms of anxiety – sweaty hands, heart beating fast, butterflies in the pit of your stomach – these symptoms are not visible to your audience. You may experience nerves and anxiety, but they are not as evident to your audience as you might imagine
  4. View your audience as friendly, and as people who want to hear your nessage
  5. Don’t worry too much about the impression you are making (for example, thinking you should have made a hand gesture at a given moment)- focus more on your message and making it relevant to your audience
  6. Your trump card is that you know what you are intending to say – if you happen to forget to say something that you’d planned, or you have had to leave material out because of time – don’t worry, because your audience won’t know!
  • Tips On Controlling Public Speaking Nerves

Ken Okel is a popular US speaker, and in this short clip he shares some quick tips on controlling nerves when speaking in front of an audience.

  • One More Time : Controlling your public speaking nerves

In this short clip, the very polished U.S speaker TJ Walker offers some advice on dealing with public speaking nerves. He advocates the importance of recording your presentation and seeing it for yourself as part of your preparation, so as to identify areas to improve, and then subsequently to give you some reassurance that you’re on the right track.

  • We All Get It Wrong Sometimes

The previous President of the United States, George Bush, made a number of public speaking blunders ….. in this short clip you will see just a few of them.  I have included this clip because it perhaps may give you some hope, that even one of the most powerful men on the planet has fumbled his words and made some embarassing public speaking blunders …….. But life goes on – and even though you may give a presentation that falls “flat”, the sun will still rise tomorrow, so make sure that you keep things in perspective!  I hope you enjoy this and have a little chuckle …..

  • Getting Over Disappointing Presentations

Jack Canfield is a well-known author and highly respected speaker on many different aspects of Personal Development. In this short clip, he shares some thoughts on getting over difficult and disappointing situations.

He explains that those past occasions where we feel we have failed or been embarassed have often been accompanied by intense emotions – which serve to unfortunately make the experience more memorable. However, by retaining these negative memories fom our past and continuing to dwell upon them – we simply undermine our self-esteem, which in turn makes us much more reluctant to take any risk.

Although Jack is speaking in general terms about negative past life experiences, his observations can be equally applied to our experience with disappointing presentations. Instead of dwelling upon these events, we need to start recognising and consciously storing up memories of positive public speaking experiences (no matter how small) and nourish a self-belief in our public speaking potential capability.

  • Letting Go of Fear and Anxiety

Here’s a short clip that explores the nature of fear and anxiety, and reminds us of how we can regain some control …

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