You’re a technical professional who has to give a presentation. Chewing glass while walking on a bed of nails seems more pleasurable. Nervousness, among other things, is something you’ll have to deal with before the presentation.
Clammy hands. Short breath. Uncontrollably shaking body. We’ve all been there.
Do you get nervous before you give a technical presentation? If so, you’re not alone. Public speaking can be anxiety-inducing, even for seasoned professionals. However, there are practical ways to deal with it effectively. Here are three techniques that can help you conquer those nerves and deliver a stellar presentation.
1. Channel Nervous Energy through Physical Activity
One effective method to dissipate nervous energy is through physical activity. Before your presentation, try doing light exercises like knee bends or even a few pushups (I often walk around before a presentation). Engaging in physical movement can help reduce anxiety and get your blood flowing, making you feel more in control and less jittery when you step on stage. Remember, the goal is not to exhaust yourself but to release tension and nerves.
2. Practice Deep Breathing for Calm and Focus
Deep breathing is a powerful tool to calm your nerves and center your focus. Take slow, deep breaths from your diaphragm, holding it for a couple of seconds, and then exhale completely. Repeat this several times before your presentation to regulate your heart rate and induce a sense of relaxation. Deep breathing helps oxygenate your brain, allowing you to think clearly and maintain composure during your talk. Especially for the questions that may come after your presentation, your brain better be in focus!
3. Visualize Success to Boost Confidence
Visualization is a technique used by many successful individuals, including athletes and public speakers. Take a moment to close your eyes and visualize your presentation going smoothly. Picture yourself confidently delivering your content, engaging with the audience, and receiving positive responses. By envisioning success, you’ll build confidence and reduce self-doubt. Remember, confidence is key when it comes to giving presentations. I swear by this technique, especially when combined with deep breathing.
When it comes to nervousness before a presentation, it’s actually a bad sign if you’re not nervous. Nerves are a sign that you care about the outcome of the presentation. They aren’t to be eliminated, just managed. After all, it’s hard to talk after you’ve passed out due to shortness of breath!
Also, rethink the way you talk to yourself about giving presentations. Instead of saying “I’m nervous”, say “I’m excited.” You go from a negative to a positive frame of mind when you do this, which feeds in quite nicely with the visualization that you’re doing (you’re thinking about success, after all).
Incorporating physical activity, deep breathing, and visualization into your routine can significantly improve your presentation experience. Embrace your nervousness as a natural response, but also recognize that you have the power to manage it effectively. Practice these techniques consistently, and you’ll notice a positive shift in your presentation skills and overall confidence.