How to Calm your Nerves before a Presentation

Everyone feels some anxiety before a speech.  Use these techniques to calm your nerves and don’t let speaker’s anxiety stop you from speaking up.

Stay Hydrated

As soon as you start talking, your tongue goes dry and lips turn white. Dry mouth, also known as cotton mouth, is a very real sign of anxiety and the person experiencing it can really suffer. So stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before your address, but don’t forget to take a comfort break before the big moment.

Keep a bottle of water at arm’s reach while presenting in case you get dry mouth while chatting up a storm. It also provides something heavy to chuck at anyone who incurs your displeasure during the proceedings.

Exercise to Stay Calm

When you know you’ll be speaking publicly, plan a workout earlier in the day, even a quick stroll can really help.  As well as being a confidence boosting distraction from your concerns, exercise can alleviate anxiety by releasing endorphins that make you feel better, also increasing body temperature, which can have a calming effect.

Don’t forget to Smile

Smiling also increases the happy chemicals in your brain; replacing anxiety with calm and making you feel good about your presentation. You’ll also exhibit confidence and enthusiasm to the crowd. Just don’t overdo it; the maniacal clown look could make your audience uneasy.

Before You Speak

You may feel calm and prepared until just before your name is called. If you’re out of view, you can try methods such as looking at photos that make you smile, reading a list of your best jokes, as well as taking big deep breaths. If you’re in plain sight, use your brain to calm yourself. Try visualisation or discreet deep breathing. Keep a smile on your face and try to look relaxed.

A good preparation technique is to  picture yourself walking up to the podium, smiling, calmly giving your speech, and then visualising the results you want, such as people coming up, patting you on the back and congratulating you on your passionate presentation. The use of positive thinking is widely acknowledged to be incredibly effective for all sorts of situations.

Embrace the Energy

Nervous energy isn’t always a bad thing. Research has shown that good stress helps us focus and helps us think more clearly. Getting the blood pumping sharpens your senses sand makes you more aware of what’s going on around you. Use that extra energy to engage your audience, and dazzle them with your ideas. Don’t forget that an enthusiastic speech can win out over a more eloquent one.

Be Prepared

If you don’t prepare for your presentation, you’ll end up stressed and anxious beforehand. Make sure you know what you’re going to say. Then, practice. Practice your first words more than any other part so that you can relax and focus on the audience instead of yourself.

Find a coach to practice with, a friend or family member can be your audience. Even making a video recording of your speech and playing it back can make a difference. Don’t let this be the first time you’ve said these words out loud. By the time you go live, you should be comfortable with the delivery.

Arrive Early.

It’s always best to allow yourself plenty of time to settle in before your talk. Extra time ensures you won’t be late (even if Google Maps shuts down) and gives you plenty of time to get adapted to your presentation space. The more adjusted to your environment you are, the more comfortable you’ll feel.

Use a Power Stance.

Practicing confident body language is another way to boost your pre-presentation jitters. When your body is physically demonstrating confidence, your mind will follow suit. Before you take the limelight, strike your best Power Ranger stance and hold your head high!

Stop yourself shaking

Simply squeeze your buttocks or your thigh muscles. It’s almost physically impossible to shake anything if your buttocks or your thigh muscles are clenched. This technique will help you feel and appear more confident – and, unless you are presenting in your Speedos, most clothes will completely mask your actions.

Exercise your voice

Open your throat by sticking your tongue out as far as it will go, and try to say the whole of the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme out loud. This will open the back of the throat and you’ll sound more confident and have more authority. Of course, you should do this before the proceedings – not in front of the audience.

Enunciation

Try to use your own voice rather than putting on a formal public speaking voice. Often this is as simple as not speaking too loudly. Talk as if you were with a group of friends.

 

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