You know a lot about the subject. You practiced a lot and you even have some one-liners the public will not forget. Still, you’re nervous. You fear being up there and talking to the public. Here are three steps you can take to make you feel significantly less nervous.
A. Prepare well but not too much
The greatest fear of any presenter is to be left without words. An logical remedy to this would seem to learn everything by heart. This bears however a great risk: if you only forget one small piece of your presentation, you’d might get completely lost. It is better to just depend on both your memory and your ability to improvise like in normal conversation. A good balance might be the following: put some keywords on paper and practice your presentation about three times at home.
B. Get familiar with your public
It’s more frightening to present in front of a public you don’t know. Fortunately, it’s not hard to get to know people. Just be a little earlier and start a conversation with someone in the front row. You’ll get a hang of what the public is like and you can at least look this person in the eye without getting shivers. If you want to be up with the pro’s: use his or hers comments at the start of your presentation. That immediately creates a bond between you and the public and also decreases your stress level.
C. Take the right posture
You know that feeling like air is being stuck high up your throat? I once asked what to do about it during a training in public speaking. I got the following answer. You can get rid of it by breathing calmly and taking the right posture. Stand right up, knees a little bent, chin up. Look before you, not at the floor. If this doesn’t do the trick, take some time during the presentation for a deep breath. The public won’t notice. If you have trouble taking a break (most people try to finish as fast as possible), place a glass of water in front of you and force yourself to take sip.
Good luck with your next presentation!