True story. I get nervous before a presentation. While teaching a workshop on blogging and creating websites (circa 2014), I felt like cotton was being formed in my mouth as I talked. ?
But as the session moved along, and I had a nice sip of water, my nerves were eased.
Truth be told, it was more than the sip of water that helped me during the presentation.
Here are several tips, that I’ve learned, to use that can help calm your nerves before and during your presentation.
1. Arrive Early. When I arrive early, I am able to get used to my surroundings, ‘freshen up’, get a cup of water and lay out my documents if need be. Arriving early helps me not feel rushed. I may not always get it right, but my best presentations have happened when I arrived early to an event.
2. Meet and greet as many as you can before your presentation begins. This will help you feel like you are talking to people you’ve already met. You can even reference them during the presentation perhaps with questions or make eye contact with them.
3. Start off slow and pause during your presentation. Speaking slowly in the beginning leaves room for you to build momentum during your presentation. Pausing during moments allows for emphasis of various points, and is a great way to allow what you say to ‘sink in’ to your audience. Also, it allows you time to catch your breath if you feel hurried.
4. Take deep breaths. “The many benefits of deep breathing include a reduction in stress and blood pressure, strengthening of abdominal and intestinal muscles and relief of general body aches and pains. Deep breathing also promotes better blood flow, releases toxins from the body and aids in healthy sleep.” (Livestrong.com)
4. Drink water. Even the best speakers and performers can get dry mouth while talking. Keep a water bottle handy so you can take a sip, especially during your dramatic pauses.
It’s normal to get nervous before a presentation, especially if it’s your first time presenting on a topic or speaking to a new audience. However, applying these few tips will help you deliver your presentation with ease and delight your audience.
By, the way, in the follow-up survey, the participants said they enjoyed the class, but they said they wanted to learn more on the subject. This was a reminder that there is always room for improvement, but I was happy that they wanted me to teach them again.
It’s always a good sign when you are requested to return to speak/train again at an organization.