No need to avoid presenting any longer
You have been asked to present at your next industry conference. Woohoo!! Or maybe not. The thought of standing in front of 400 people is terrifying and the self-talk starts in your head.
- I have no idea how to put together a presentation, what was I thinking?
- No way am I going to put myself through all that stress
- What if I get up there and I forget everything and completely fall apart?
- What if they all hate my presentation?
- What if they all hate me?
- My reputation, credibility and career is ruined forever
Does any of this sound familiar?
Presenting is one of the MUST have skills in business, in fact in life. You will be constantly asked to share your view, your message, your products, your services or your story throughout your career. So, stop avoiding the inevitable and get on top of those presenting nerves and that self-sabotaging mind chatter.
Yes, you should at some stage learn how to structure and prepare a powerful presentation and yes, the more you present the easier it becomes but if you have that presentation next week and need some quick tips to keep those nerves at bay try the tips below.
Prepare – The preparation is always evident. Never wing it. So many times, I have seen presenters crash because they don’t know their audience or even their own presentation well enough. Do your research about the audience, the outcomes and of course know your presentation inside out. This doesn’t mean rehearse word for word, far from it, use a great presentation structure and know your content and your area of expertise well enough to be of service to your audience. If you think you are going to forget anything, have some strategies in place like notes, props, pre-prepared flip charts, key words on your slides. (no palm cards please) and be okay with not being perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect presentation. Even seasoned presenters forget something they wanted to say from time to time. Just ensure your key messages are communicated.
Positive Mindset – If you have prepared your presentation and you know your stuff everything else going on is in your head. Think positively about your presentation. What gift will you be sharing with the audience? You’ve obviously been asked to present because somebody believes in you, you just need to believe in yourself. When you are comfortable and having fun you give permission for your audience to feel the same. Don’t confuse good nerves with destructive nerves either. I always get a few excited butterflies before any presentation. It just means I care. I then turn them into positive energy. Visualise a positive experience before it has happened too. Your brain likes to predict what’s coming so ensure it’s predicting a wonderful experience.
Breathe – When you are stressed everything speeds up. Don’t give your body a chance to highjack your brain, breathe slowly and get back in control. By just slowing your breathing down can change what your nervous system is doing.
Power pose – You may have heard this one before, but it works. Dr Amy Cuddy’s research on Presence discusses that our body can shape our mind and our mind can shape our behaviour. So, you can prepare to be confident with your body as well as your mind. When you are feeling anxious or challenged you react and end up in a fight, flight or even a freeze moment. By standing tall with your head up and your hands on your hips can change the way your brain is reacting to the situation. Amy suggests you fake it until you become it instead of faking it until you make it. In other words trick your mind into thinking you are calm and confident. You will start to believe it. So, do that power pose in the bathroom mirror in the morning and before you walk on stage, then walk onto that stage with strong strides, head up and smiling at your audience. Just the way you hold your body can increase your confidence and the belief in yourself.
So, we are now ready to go. This is your new self-talk.
- The day has finally come, I am looking forward to it
- I am really excited to share this new research
- I am sure I will meet some interesting new people before and after the presentation
- This is great for my positioning in the industry and my organisation
- I can’t believe how many times I have said no to delivering a presentation
- I hope I get asked to present this again as this is just too good to say once
Now look into that mirror, hands on hips, head up and say out loud
“you’ve got this”
If you don’t need to present next week and have a little more time to prepare and want some help to become a speaking superstar register for my next Exceptional Presenter One Day Master Cass or talk to me about working in-house with the key people in your organisation. Thousands of attendees have attended Paula’s workshops over the past 30 years. I would love to help you to feel calm, confident and charismatic in your future presentations or training sessions.