Calm your nerves before a Big Presentation
3 Simple Tips to Calm Your Nerves Before a Big Presentation
You begin with a few facts you know by heart, but your mind is thinking of the next thing you need to say. You find yourself suddenly frozen, lost your train of thought, while everyone is wondering what you’ll say next. You’ve gone on a second too long in silence. You’re afraid of people laughing if you don’t speak up soon. If this is your worst fear or something common while you present, you’re not alone.
Everyone gets a bit nervous before a presentation or public speaking, even experienced professional presenters. In fact, a little bit of nerves is a good thing. Your adrenaline is pumping, which means you are sharper and more alert. That’s fine as long as you take control of it and not the other way around.
The team here at Presentation Geeks have our own presentation tips and tricks on all kinds of presentation topics. In the blog, we’ll focus on you, as the presenter and how to calm your nerves before your next big presentation or big public speaking event.
Three Simple Tips to Calm Your Nerves
Everyone is different and we all have a different way to calm our nerves. We’re not going to talk here about individual calming techniques for anxiety. We want to focus on the fear of public speaking, the anxiety of speaking and how to beat being nervous during a presentation. You may need those individual techniques as well like doing yoga or meditation. Or possibly having a nice hot chocolate and taking a brisk walk. Or you go on a nice cabin vacation before your important day. But those are individual choices for each and every person and not one size fits all in terms of technique.
Instead, here’s three tried and tested ways to help calm anyone’s nerves before a speaking infront of a crowd, especially if they have a deep fear of public speaking also.
Tip 1: Prepare for the Audience
Fear of the unknown is a big fear. One of the biggest fears anyone has. So, if you are worried about your audience, that’s going to make you anxious and nervous also. The best thing to do is reduce the amount of things you worry about, because you can focus a bit better not battling different things.
Here’s our first tip: The answer is to find out whatever you can about your audience in advance. Who exactly are they? Where are they from? What do they like? A great tip, once you have done that, is to prepare an icebreaker joke or two, or a story that your audience will relate to. If you are presenting locally, tell a short local story or joke (in good taste of course). If you are presenting to a foreign crowd, learn a few words of the language or purposely make fun of how bad your command of that language is (tastefully!). If your audience is a specialist group, focus on their specialty so they feel seen. Laughter releases chemicals that will relax you and reduces the fear of public speaking. It also creates a connection with the crowd. If the joke falls flat, don’t worry – because you can make a joke about that too. The joke or story can be a visual one which Presentation Geeks can help you with.
Once you get an audience on your side, you will relax and your presentation will flow more easily and feel less nervous. Don’t let your anxiety talk for you.
Tip 2: Prepare for the Q+A
Fear of difficult questions is another big fear. Almost no one likes “curveball” questions at the end of a talk and it’s even worse if that happens while you are still presenting. While we encourage you not to worry too much about this, we have some tips in dealing with this. Just remember that odd questions are always asked of every person, at every level of expertise or experience. Answer with honesty and take a pause if you need to.
Here’s another tip. Make a few Q+A slides. That has many benefits. First, it will make you talk out your answers beforehand, which you can use during the talk and feel confident. Second, you can close down questions (if you want to) by saying you will handle those at the end. You’ll feel more confident being able to talk uninterrupted. Also, it will impress your audience that you really have thought about and know the subject. They will be able to take away your wisdom and may reach out to you afterwards to get more of your expertise.
One of the next biggest fears anyone has is being caught ‘cold’. So, if you are worried about questions, that’s also going to make you feel anxious. Presentation Geeks can help you put those together, in an elegant way, get through your fears, take control of your presentation, use what you know and help you win that tough crowd over.
Tip 3: Prepare your environment and you before the presentation
You want your presentation to be done calmly and with confidence. We hear of so many good pitches that go wrong, through really simple mistakes, that is easily fixed.
Here’s our final public speaking tip. Make sure you rehearse.
First, do the basics on yourself and make sure there’s nothing odd about your appearance, like a wonky tie, messy hair, food on your clothes etc. Otherwise, your audience will be looking at you as well as the presentation.
Secondly, make sure the sound and the lighting in the room are good by having a rehearsal well before your guests arrive. That’s basic, but not everyone does it. Check the lighting, sound, seating, temperature etc. Then if there are any snags, you have time to fix them. That will take away another source of anxiety.
Thirdly check your Powerpoint carefully, with someone else looking at it too if possible. Is this the right version? Is your text big enough to read in the room from the seats at the back (that’s easy to check if you have a friend or colleague help out? Is it the right length? If it’s too long, move less important slides to the Q+A session and you can use them if you need them.
We can help you do all this and you will feel more confident and communicate that confidence to your audience. Becoming a better presenter is all about practice and confidence.
But Wait, There’s More
There’s one final tip to keep you calm. You may want to get expert help in advance. A lot of people think that because they have Powerpoint on their PC or Tablet they have to do everything themselves. Chances are though, you are not a professional graphics artist. Or, you are not a professional scriptwriter. And how much professional public speaking do you do?. Most people doing presentations have a day job they are experts in or are specialists with expert domain knowledge, or simply just have a story to tell or a message to get across.
Do you know about the Golden Section? How are you on Kerning? Do you have in-depth knowledge of complementary colors? Do you rarely get past Arial when choosing a font? You wouldn’t build a house without help from an Architect, or do your own dentistry – would you? There’s a reason graphic artists and designers go to college and spend time and money getting trained. The feeling of having to create and execute everything may be why you’re also anxious.
So just because you have Powerpoint, doesn’t mean you are obliged to do the whole thing yourself. That’s an easy way to get stressed and anxious. Hiring the Presentation Geeks gives you more time to focus on your original content and your personal delivery.
You will be way more confident with a beautifully designed Powerpoint and your audience will be more impressed. So, why get stressed for no reason? You come up with the idea and then we will make it happen.