Public speaking jitters can risk your chances of effectively relaying brilliant ideas. Here are some tips to stop those weak knees and cold sweat on your important day.
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Treat your presentation as a conversation
It’s easy to fumble with your words when you have 100 pairs of eyes on you. Try to imagine yourself and a few other people in the room with you and treat it as a group conversation. When you have convinced your mind that this is merely a conversation, it becomes a lot more doable.
Remember to take deep breaths throughout your presentation. This not only allows your mind to mentally prepare the next point, but it also allows you to pause (which avoids the very common speedy speeches). Some studies have shown that massaging or pulling your ears help calm those nerves down.
Having transitions throughout the presentation promotes fluidity in your speech. A few examples you could incorporate: “Furthermore…”, “This leads us to the next point…”, “By establishing this…”
Memorise slide sequence
Memorising your slide sequence enables you to have full control of your presentation while allowing you to anticipate and seamlessly announce the next slide. Looking calm and in control will boost your confidence and reduce your anxiety.
Make a good presentation
PowerPoint is a safe bet for many people, but there are many presentation platforms that are interactive such as Prezi and Emaze. Search for one that suits you and make sure there are no big chunks of information squeezed onto a single slide. There’s nothing more of a turn off for an audience to have to read a slide! (Here are some tips on creating a good PowerPoint presentation)
Ignore audience reactions
You can’t run away from the fact that there will be a few people who will yawn and look uninterested while you present. Remember that during your presentation, your sole job is to present it as best as you can right till the end.
Practice, practice, practice
Know your material well shows that you are prepared and serious about your presentation. Practice in front of your friends and family for “trial runs”. You will thank them later for listening to you stutter and fumble.
By recording your practice sessions, you can playback to spot your mistakes before the actual day and work on it. Get used to your voice and speech patterns.
Plan out how to improve your next speech
If there is a recording of your presentation on the actual day, review it. Ask yourself questions like “Which areas could I have improved on?”, “Did I use ‘um’ too often?”, “Was my facial expression stiff?”. Keep in mind there will be more presentations in the future and these blunders can be avoided next time.
You’re not the only one
There are plenty of famous people who had fears in presenting. Some of them included Winston Churchill, Warren Buffet and Samuel L. Jackson. Remember, you can overcome it just like they did.
*Text by Nazlin Amirudin