Everyone, even the most seasoned public speakers, suffers from stage fright from time to time. For some people, stage fright is a fleeting feeling which lasts for seconds before their courage kicks in while there are others who get so severely affected that they literally get sick. The desire to perform well ad meet certain standards that you have either set for the presentation or have been set for you can lead to fear, which builds anxiety. However, by learning to calm yourself before a presentation, you avoid confusion and poor delivery. Here are a few tips to help you calm your nerves before you make that important presentation.
Accepting the Anxiety
The first step is accepting that feeling scared before a big presentation is normal. The body has a defense mechanism which makes it secret adrenalin to counter what the mind perceives as fear. When the hormone kicks in, you get the fear reaction. When you start feeling nervous, instead of getting agitated by the feeling, acknowledge and accept it as part of the body’s natural reaction. In this situation, instead of thinking about what could go wrong, take a deep breath and think of how profitable the opportunity to educate people about subject of the presentation will be, and how proud of you they will be when you do it effectively.
Preparing your mind and body beforehand
There is a relationship between preparedness and the level of anxiety that you experience just before a huge presentation. Always be mentally ready for the physical manifestation of the fear; this includes sweating, a faster heartbeat, and cracking of the voice. When these symptoms kick in, accept them by taking a deep breath. To make sure that these feelings do not get the best of you:
- Rest well the night before the presentation, make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep.
- Drink enough water and refrain from excessive caffeine consumption as it might make you jumpy.
- Eat a good meal but do not overeat.
- When you get to the podium, strike a power pose, this will help you feel ready for the discussion.
Prepare for the opening
One of the most effective techniques to deal with nerves is looking for an anecdote to start off the presentation with. If the situation allows, tell a joke and as soon as you have the hall laughing, the ice will have been broken. In the meantime, your body will be adjusting to the situation, and the initial fright will have disappeared. As a result, when you get into the actual discussion, no one will notice that you were even nervous. If you are not good at telling jokes, or the situation does not allow, you can choose another icebreaker such as a personal story, a song or just a simple statement which warms up the audience. For instance, you can comment about the beautiful weather, or thank the audience for being there and looking so radiant and ready to listen. Once a rapport has been established, everything else will go well.
Use of alternative wellness therapy
If the anxiety and stage fright is a condition which you have dealt with for a long time, you should consider a more long-term therapy to resolve the problem. Some people meditate and use techniques such as yoga and acupuncture to get this sense of inner peace. One of the most effective therapies in calming nerves is medical qigong. Some therapists are so good at the practice that they transfer their energy and confidence into you as the patient, giving you the courage to face any huge crowd without fear.
These are some of the techniques which you can use to transform the state of your mind from fear and panic to confidence when facing a big crowd. With the right state of mind, there is no crowd size that you cannot face and address because of anxiety.