Sometimes the mere thought of standing up on stage and delivering a presentation before an audience can leave you with sleepless nights. What if the audience doesn’t like my presentation? What if I fail to deliver on stage? All of these fears can be conquered with the right preparation.
Here are some helpful tips to help you overcome anxiety before a presentation:
Practice makes perfect
Talk to the chairs. Yes, it sounds absurd but locking yourself up in an empty conference room and practicing can help soothe your nerves and give you a feel of what you are going to have to face. If you have your entire presentation rehearsed and memorized well in advance, it will be easier to deliver. You may not see it at in the moment, but it will get easier. The more you master the presentation, the more comfortable you will become.
Take a video of your rehearsal:
If you want to improve your stage presence, start by practicing at home in front of a mirror. Film yourself as you practice, so that you can go back and catch places you would like to improve upon. It is a proven method to discover the areas you need improvement. You might notice you’re moving around too much or having a nervous tick which might make you look jumpy. And also, don’t forget to count the number of times you used fillers. “Um”.
Pay Attention To Your Pace:
Nervousness can make presenters talk too fast and rush through the entire presentation. This can have an adverse effect on the audience. That is why, when you practice your speech make sure you set a pace such that your audience stays in line with you as you guide them through your show.
Don’t forget to pause during your presentation. Pausing between sentences and slides to give your audience the time to register what you said. Try taking deep breaths between your presentation to calm your nerves and adjust your pace.
Keep note cards or cheat sheets handy
In some instances, cue cards may be used during your presentation. The only problem is some speakers rely on them heavily and that is definitely not a good sign. Reading from your cue cards a little more than you should give your audience the feeling that you aren’t prepared. So make sure, you use them only to note down key points that you can peek into, while your presentation is underway.
Intrigue the audience
One of the easiest ways to get your audience to loosen up and lend an ear is humor. Try opening with one-liners relevant to your topic. If you aren’t too sure of the humor, try asking a burning question. A question that the audience needs an answer to.
Take note of the time
When you deliver your presentation, do not divert from the topic and make sure you stick to your timeline and keep it precise. Speakers who adhere to timelines are very much appreciated by the audience and event organizers as well. Keeping an eye on the clock gives you an idea on how fast or slow should you pace your presentation. If you are not sure how to keep track of the time when on stage, you can set someone in the audience to give you signals every now and then.
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