Perhaps you already know that fear of public speaking could be hurting your professional and personal life. But did you know the average person ranks the fear of public speaking higher than the fear of death?
Nervousness, sweaty palms, and butterflies in your stomach – these are all symptoms of “presentation anxiety” or fear of public speaking. So how can you calm your nerves before a presentation? How to avoid being nervous during a presentation? In this article, we share proven techniques to help you overcome your fear of public speaking and harness your excess energy or excitement in an effective way.
How to Address the Fear of Public Speaking
Tip #1: Pick a Subject You’re Passionate About
Pick a subject that has had an inordinate impact on your personal or professional life and you feel there’s an audience that can benefit from your knowledge. Not just that, you should be able to speak about it from the heart. Needless to say, when you’re speaking about something you’re passionate about, you will naturally be more confident and comfortable in your own skin.
Tip #2: Focus on Practice and Preparation
Nothing can take the place of extensively practising and preparing for a presentation. As a starting point, write out a basic script with your key points in it. However, don’t read from the written script word for word. Instead, prepare for your speech really well; so well that you know the script by heart. It’s even more helpful to practice out loud in front of a friend, colleague, or presentation coach who will give you constructive and honest feedback about your presentation skills.
Tip #3: Embrace Your Excitement
Being nervous is a sign that you actually care about giving a good presentation. The excitement or nervousness produces the hormone adrenaline, which helps you speak more fluently, think faster, and add the much-needed enthusiasm for getting your message across in the right way. So, embrace this feeling, transform your nervousness into excitement, and reap the rewards.
Tip #4: Eliminate Your Fear of Rejection
Thinking “what if my audience doesn’t like my presentation?” is not going to help you. Think of it this way – the audience is there to listen to what you have to say for a reason. Perhaps you’re a subject matter expert. You’ve made it so far, and you can deliver a fantastic presentation – only if you could get rid of your fear of rejection.
Tip #5: Take a Few Deep Breaths to Calm Yourself
If you are looking for the best tips on “how to calm nerves and anxiety”, this one is the “holy grail”. When you breathe freely using your stomach muscles and not your chest, it has a calming effect on your nervous system. Just taking a few deep breaths before your presentation and saying to yourself “I am relaxed” can go a long way in helping you relax and stay focused.
Tip #6: Use Visualisation Techniques
Even if for just a minute, close your eyes and imagine yourself delivering your presentation with full confidence and enthusiasm. Visualise how the room looks like, what the audience looks like, and how you look. Now that you have pictured yourself delivering the presentation successfully, in detail, your mind will help turn your picture into a reality. Okay, it may sound like a bunch of “new-age” advice, but it works, so why not give it a shot?
Tip #7: Expand Your Vocabulary
To make your audience feel you really know what you’re talking about, you will need to have the fluency to speak about your topic without having to think of the right words to speak. When you’re “well-versed” about your topic, it becomes effortless to talk about it – and this is what we’re trying to demonstrate with the presentation.
Tip #8: Get Training for Public Speaking
When it comes to public speaking, it’s always a good idea to find a coach or mentor who can help you improve your presentation skills. Not only will training help you get better at your craft, but you will also lose your presentation anxiety over time.
You can overcome the fear of public speaking with the help of these tips and lots of confidence. With adequate practice and training, you can achieve all your goals.
We, as Presentation Experts, have a special program for presentation training in London. If you’re interested to hone your presentation skills and get better at the game, you’re welcome to join our training course.
If you’re interested to learn more about our presentation training in London, click here.
For more tips and advice in this regard, do not forget to check this space for future updates.