Oh those butterflies – the ones that play in your stomach, that make you light-headed, that even make you nauseous – that wait until you need to give a presentation before they make themselves known! Public speaking is one of the top fears. And yet, it’s just a way to communicate.
We’ve all been there, you’re asked to give a presentation and you just freeze. It’s scary and yet, it’s so natural to just talk. And therein lies the problem – we need to remember that a presentation is just talking – talking about something we know.
Here are 3 tips to help ease the nerves:
- Draft your presentation – Do not write big long sentences that you need to read word for word. Use short statements or even just key words so that you can speak naturally about them.
- Practice – practice – practice. There is no substitution to practicing before you give a presentation. As a matter of fact, most of us spend too long creating the presentation that we don’t leave enough time to practice it! That’s crazy. Writing it is the comfortable part. Spend your time on the uncomfortable part – saying it out loud, presenting in front of the mirror, in front of your family, in front of your pets – it doesn’t matter where you practice, just practice.
- And finally, breathe. When we get nervous we forget to breathe. Take a deep breath into the chest area – feel your shoulder blades come together, count to 4 or 5, and release the breath letting your shoulders drop downwards. Shake out your arms and hands and go for it! And don’t forget to breathe during your presentation – stop for a sip of water, give your audience a break, make sure you find a second or two to slow your pace and breathe.
It’s more than likely that your butterflies will still be there, but the goal is to train them.
Have fun, don’t fret, just talk.
Chances are at least 3 out of 5 people in the room would be just as, if not more, nervous than you!
– Marianne D’Alessandro
Office Administration – Executive, ’84
Follow Marianne @TimeFliesVA