When the idea of public speaking comes to mind, most Americans do not experience a flush of excitement and anticipation. On the contrary, statistics show that on average, Americans fear public speaking more than they fear death itself. Our bodies have several reactions to this anxiety, such as our skin becoming flushed, our speech becomes stutter or rushed, we break into cold sweat, and we shake. While presentation anxiety is a part of many people's lives, so is the fact that we have to give presentation. A huge part of relieving this anxiety is feeling prepared content-wise (check out Dog and Pony Show, Inc. to see how our professionals can guarantee your presentation success). However, your body language, tone, and rate of speech communicate a great amount of content to your audience, and should be fine-tuned before any presentation. Here are our favorite tips for relieving presentation anxiety, in its many forms.
1. Familiarize Yourself with the Space
If possible, try to visit the venue of your presentation before the day you speak. Whether that be a classroom, business center, hall, or boardroom, becoming familiar with your surroundings will help you feel more at ease while you present. Instead of having to present in a new space with unfamiliar layouts, furniture, and technologies, associating yourself with the space will give you a greater sense of peace come presentation day. It will also might give you a chance to test-run any technology you might utilize during your presentation, lowering the chances of any complications on the big day.
2. Practice, and then Practice Some More
Perfect practice makes perfect. In order to present your best, you need to make sure you have your presentation and script down to a t. Practice in front of your team, mirror, pets, basically anything and anyone who will give you feel for what your voice sounds like. Be mindful of your gestures and pace of speech, as those can often go awry when nerves hit.
3. Rest Up Before the Big Day
After you have prepped and practiced, you need to equip your body and mind for the big day. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, and talk any anxieties out that you may have with loved ones or team members. Remind yourself that you have a solid message, and that you have done all you can to prepare. Imagine the satisfaction you will experience at the end of your successful presentation. Who knows, you might even enjoy it!