Ease Pre-Presentation Anxiousness
As absurd as it may sound, the fear of public speaking is actually the most prominent fear among adults, even before death. We’ve all experienced the sweaty palms, the fluttery anxious feeling in our guts, and dry mouth associated with the anxiety that comes from giving a speech or presentation in public. Addressing this anxiety beforehand is key to reducing stress and increasing confidence. Consider the following suggestions before your next trip to the stage.
- Become familiar with your audience. There is no denying that presenting in front of complete strangers is nerve-wracking. To help alleviate this, conduct an “audience analysis.” Assess the ages, genders, careers, and cultures of your audience. Gaining a sense of familiarity with whom you are speaking is sure to inject confidence and make the environment a more comfortable one. If you are speaking to colleagues, be sure to engage them by asking questions and listening carefully to what they are discussing in order to make it more personal.
- Know your stuff. You should take adequate time to familiarize yourself with the topic(s) you will be discussing. The more knowledgeable you are about your presentation, the less nervous you will feel. A lot of the nervousness when speaking in public stems from our belief that we don’t know enough about a topic to adequately speak about it.
- As cliché as it may sound, practice actually does make perfect. Although aiming for perfection is not the best approach, make the effort to practice your speech in front of others, even strangers. Take note of their feedback and work to improve. Do whatever you can to make your presentation as comfortable for you and effective for your audience as possible. This may mean finding pictures or presentation aids, maybe writing parts of your speech out on paper beforehand – whatever you feel will help you get the message across.
- Finally, mind control. This suggestion may seem a bit odd but, all too often, we let our minds focus on all the negative possibilities that could take place during the presentation or speech rather the positive. So think positive! Become the role of a great speaker as opposed to approaching the presentation as a task that you just have to get out of the way. Tell yourself you are confident, even if you are not. Also, there are a plethora videos on popular sites such as YouTube about presenting techniques and how people just like us got over their fear and anxiety.
Breezing through your next presentation requires preparation, practice, and having the right mindset. Rather than aiming for perfection, approach every presentation or speech as another learning experience to make the next one better.
“A speaker should approach his preparation not by what he wants to say, but by what he wants to learn” – Todd Stocker
Jennie Moussa is a Marketing Major at NJIT and Marketing Intern at Consultants 2 Go.