4 ways to calm your nerves before giving a speech
There are brilliant people who have so much anxiety over public speaking that they chose not to apply for certain jobs, they refuse to present at meetings or conferences, or they dropped out of classes at school because it required that they give presentations. Their fear prevents them from sharing their knowledge and experience, and it deprives the rest of us from learning from them. We can’t let that happen.
Here’s a short video that shares 4 tips to calm your nerves and improve your confidence so that you can say “YES!” to your next presentation, and take advantage of all speaking opportunities that come your way.
(Transcript of video below)
Let me know if you think I missed out on other important points!
Over the years, I have met brilliant people who had so much anxiety over public speaking that they chose not to apply for certain jobs, they refuse to present at meetings or conferences, or they dropped out of classes at school because it required that they give presentations.
I’m Suzannah Baum. Here are 4 tips to calm your nerves and improve your confidence so that you can say YES! to your next presentation, and take advantage of all speaking opportunities that come your way.
- Number one. Prepare — First, you’ve got to know your topic inside and out. Research it, and become the expert. Then you’ve got to know your audience inside and out – Who are they, why are they there, what are they expecting to hear from you, and what is their pre-existing knowledge of your topic? Structure your presentation for that audience. Also, if you’re the type of person who needs to write down every word of your presentation in advance, do it. If you’re not, then don’t. Ultimately, prepare in whatever way you need to so that you can calm those butterflies on the day that you give your presentation.
- Number 2. Practice! How you think you present and what the audience actually sees are often two very different things. Run through your presentation as many times as you need to so that you are completely comfortable with the material. Videotape yourself, or rehearse in front of others if you can, and ask them to give you specific, honest feedback. It’s this feedback that’s the key to improving.
- Number 3. Have a backup plan. Think about all the things that could possibly go wrong, and be ready for them. That means: Have an extra copy of your presentation handy; bring extra batteries for your equipment. Be ready to give your presentation without your slides in case the technology melts down. Have water nearby in case your mouth gets dry. And arrive early, which has the dual benefit of allowing you to set up well in advance, and having a chance to meet members of your audience.
- Number 4. Breathe! If you find yourself short of breath, just take a moment to compose yourself, take a breath, and continue your speech. No need to apologize for it, because that only calls attention to your nervousness.
The truth is, you may ALWAYS feel nervous. And that’s OK. There are some very successful professional speakers who still feel butterflies before stepping out in front of an audience. It’s completely normal. Give yourself permission to be nervous, and give the speech anyway.
I’m suzannah Baum. If you’d like to discuss how to calm your nerves and unleash your ultimate speaking potential, let’s get in touch.