There’s a saying in showbiz that every good performer has butterflies but the professionals get them to fly in formation.
Some of the very best performers and top executives feel nervous. It’s a sign that it matters and you care how you come across.
If the nervous energy isn’t used it can start to work against you and comes up with a range of symptoms from trembling, to vocal tightness, to blushing to feeling sick and faint.
It’s at this point that you are ‘ready to rock’ as they say.
The brain doesn’t respond very well being told what not to do (as anyone who has ever been on a diet or given up smoking will know) so rather than focusing on stopping the adrenaline burst it’s a good idea to give your brain something positive to do to handle those presentation nerves.
Twelve Tips for Handling Presentation Nerves
First – breathe, breathe, and breathe again – right into the bottom of your lungs.
Put your attention on meeting and taking care of the audience members beforehand so you can see the whites of their eyes!
Listen to the previous speaker and take notes so that you can make references to their presentation in your own.
There’s a famous Jimmy Cagney quote: Learn your lines, find your mark, look ’em in the eye and tell ’em the truth. So know your opening line and look around at your audience as you say it.
Then – occupy those public speaking gremlins – get moving!
Do something even if it is simply to reach for a glass of water or to arrange your notes.
Get your attention on them rather than you. You are the host of this party and you need to take care of your guests.
Notice what’s going on in the room and if there are areas where people will have difficulty seeing you, so you can put extra attention on them when you start and during the presentation.
Involve them. Ask questions – rhetorical or practical.
Remember – the more you focus on practical things, the less time you will have to be nervous.
Go for a STAR moment that they will never forget and you will relish.
Bask in the joy of a job well done!