It happens to all of us. We get scared to death whenever we have to speak in front of a group of people, whether it’s leading a team meeting, teaching a class or giving a toast at your best friend’s wedding. How do we get to the point of “never let them see you sweat.” How do you look relaxed, connected and in the moment when your mind is searching for the nearest exit.
Well, if you should ever find yourself in this situation, here are three tips that just may help:
- Do exercises before your presentation – simple ones that take your mind off the task at hand. I’ve seen people do jumping jacks, running in place, or dancing. For me, deep breathing really helps. Don’t underestimate this one. I simply breathe in through my nose and fill my belly with air. It’s important that the air goes to your belly and not your lungs – for some reason this really helps. Then slowly exhale through your mouth. I do this as many times as I need to before I take the stage. Some days it can be as few as five breaths; other days I’ve lost count. It truly calms me.
- Practice your presentation, whether it’s in front of a live audience or behind your computer screen for a webinar or Facebook Live. Always be prepared and practice, practice, practice. And when you feel that you have practiced enough…Practice again. This will help you internalize your information. Do NOT memorize – it’s only when you internalize and feel your message that you can handle any distraction that comes your way. Internalizing your material will also help to calm those nerves.
- Do not look at email, texts, or your phone before your presentation. I know this sounds hard, but I’ve learned from experience to focus on your topic and ignore all other distractions. When I performed at the Second City Training Center in Chicago a couple of years ago, I innocently checked my email before I entered the building. I had received an annoying email and it took some time to get it out of my head so I could concentrate on my performance
So the next time you’re called on to deliver an important message, try the three simple steps above and I guarantee you will be able to concentrate on your message and not your nerves. They work every time.