If you have felt the feeling of anxiety before presenting in front of an audience, rest assured you are not alone. In fact, up to 80% of the population gets those same butterflies before taking their place at the front of the room. Here are some tips and trick to help you get through your next presentation with flying colors.
1. Practice, practice, practice: The more you speak publicly the less self-conscious you become about public speaking and the more engaging and memorable your presentation will be. Now how many chances do people get to practice this skill? Many people don't realize there is a public organization called toastmasters that is just that. A way for people to practice talking in front of a group and get better at it. Most cities and mid-sized towns will have a toastmasters group, just look them up and see when they hold their meetings in your town. Thinking you can present without a lot of practice is a big misconception.
2. Tape yourself: Sometimes when we present we don't realize how monotone one's voice gets or the use of excessive filler words such as "like", "okay", "umm", and "so". Even doing just a two-minute video of yourself presenting can give you a ton a of insight. Are you smiling too much or not enough? Do you use the room or do you just stand there? Are you talking too fast or too slow? It is easy to think you are coming across in a way that is very different from what you are actually doing. How many times have you thought you nailed something and then looked at a video or had a friend watch you and realize what you thought you did and what you actually did were two completely different things.
3. Turn Computer towards you: If you are presenting using a computer, it is best to turn the computer towards you during the presentation. This simple swivel, allows you to continue looking straight, instead of constantly turning your back towards the audience to find your place in the presentation.
4. Audience engagement tools: To engage your audience beyond the simple yes or no questions; use a free audience engagement tool such as Google Poll, mentimeter, or Polleverywhere to collect responses to questions in real time.
5. Power Pose: Sometimes despite the prep work you have done before a presentation you still are going to have some nerves going in. One fun trick is to just rename that feeling of nerves as a feeling of excitement. The physical response is about the same and re-framing the emotions will give you a power boost right before your speech. Another trick is to do a literal power pose or winning pose right before your presentation. Amy Cuddy is a research scientist at Harvard and she is a well known author of the book Presence:Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges. It is in this book that she talks about how striking a pose with your arms above your head in a victory pose for just two minutes will reduce your body's production of the stress hormone cortisol and raise the production of the hormone testosterone in your body. Therefore increasing your dramatically increasing your confidence going into a presentation.
So there you go. Some solid tips to use before your next big presentation or speech to deliver a truly great presentation.