Many of us find it intimidating to think about giving a presentation to dozens or even hundreds of people. It has been well established that the dread of public speaking is greater than our fear of death or dying. This fear of public speaking is known as glossophobia therefore, it makes sense that when we are asked to give a presentation in front of a large group of people, even the most seasoned of presenters find it to be extremely scary, even if they have used a professional presentation design agency.
Fear not, though, as we have compiled a list of nine strategies for handling presentation anxiety.
Turn fear into adrenalin
Even if you have given speeches in public a lot, it is still normal to feel anxious. You run the risk of getting complacent if you completely lose your fear. You want to find the perfect balance between nervousness and excitement, but not so much that it affects your mind, your breathing or triggers a fight or flight response.
How do you then locate that sweet spot? Start by looking at the signs of nervousness when giving a speech in front of an audience.
The feeling of having butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, a fast-beating heart, a tight chest, and slight shortness of breath are all sensations that you may feel. All of those feelings are remarkably comparable to what you could experience during a period of intense excitement.
The first thing to note is that these are not negative feelings, rather we need to communicate differently with our brains so that we do not jump into alert mode. Hence if you experience the science, you can actually tell yourself that you are happy or you are excited because you are about to perform well on stage. You aim to harness the energy and transform these symptoms into a compelling force.
Take deep breaths
The second step is to pay attention to your breathing. Inhale deeply, then exhale slowly. What we do know is that it is really challenging to be in a high anxiety state if we are breathing deeply and slowly like that. You can also use the image of a golden globe radiating the warmth of molten lava from inside your stomach. It absorbs more golden energy within each inhalation and delivers more molten golden warmth into your body with each exhalation. Your anxiety will be reduced by this image.
If you are feeling anxious and need to get past the fear, the next thing you should be doing is actually connecting to your goal. What, then, is crucial about your message? Why are you saying what you are?
Take away the negative thoughts
Anxiety about presentations may be likened to the destructive voice within our heads. It is there, along with a whole slew of unfavorable forecasts of what can possibly occur. Your worries are about making a bad impression.
Saying ‘Not now, I am focusing on my objective, which is to make a point”, is the best response to these emotions. Give those negative thoughts no importance and recognize that they may be a pessimistic voice, but you are shoving them aside and concentrating on your goal because you have work to accomplish. You must be very clear about what you want to accomplish. You tell yourself you have a job to do, something to say, and a message to deliver, so do not give attention to these negative thoughts.
Each stage can also be visualized. Imagine yourself leaving wherever you are and entering the stage. Consider pausing for a moment to look out at the audience as you give some of your speech, the audience’s enthusiastic response, and the feeling of being able to relax. if you are truly engaged in the first visualization, you will notice that your heart is beating quickly, and you will become more anxious. This is good because if you catch yourself doing it, you can strive to transform those emotions into excitement and remind your negative thoughts that you have more essential work to perform.
Film yourself and watch it back
Making a video of yourself is a great idea. You need to become familiar with your presentation and keep the flow in mind. In a perfect world, you would want to memorize it, so you need to know exactly what you are saying and specific trigger points. Practice with others, the more you rehearse it, the more you internalize it and make it your own. The more you are aware of exactly what you are doing at each stage, the more confident you will be
Focus on the audience
Avoid making the worst mistake that you can as a speaker and thinking it is all about you. Establish a connection with your audience as soon as you take the stage.
They have a stake in it and want it to succeed just as much as you do. They do not want to observe someone who is trapped in their own downward spiral of self-loathing. Instead, they want to enjoy listening to someone share a message about something they are passionate about.
Emphasize the key points
When you are speaking, be sure to focus on your key points, because that is what will communicate those things, so you need to emphasize them. Explain them and give them color and life. That will give the impression that you are clear, confident, and passionate about what you are talking about. At the same time, it will ground you and what you are saying, giving the impression that you are more assured.
Use your body
Last, but not least, use your body. Keep it from getting tangled up in your side pockets or crossing your body. Having open arms communicates to your brain that you are confident because you’re liberated enough to employ gestures, which in turn generates a positive feedback loop for you to use. It also shows your audience that you are owning, experiencing and enjoying what you are saying by bringing it to life for them.