Can you believe that presentation anxiety, or the jitters that come before you give a presentation, is a common reaction? It’s true. It comes from the fear of public speaking, which is one of American’s most feared actions, according to a Chapman University study.
Learning how to calm down before a presentation is something that the majority of us want to understand. Nobody wants to get up in front of a group of colleagues or classmates and feel so nervous that the presentation doesn’t hit its target. You want to achieve the goal of your presentation, so how can you get through it without having a panic attack?
This post outlines eleven effective and actionable tips to implement before your next presentation.
Map it out in advance
Making a plan is a fantastic tool for killing any anxiety that sprouts from doubts. I don’t mean a rough idea or general expectation. Rather, a clearly defined series of events, if that helps you. Write or type out the stages and what you expect will happen at each stage.
What are the various parts of your presentation? What will you say during each one? Will there be questions after?
Answering these questions helps you gain confidence in having all your bases covered and helps you feel well-prepared.
Nail your intro
After you know what you are going to talk about, lock down those initials statements so you don’t get stuck think of how to start. This doesn’t mean you need to memorize sentences word for word. Just focus on hitting three main points, then practice delivering those three things in order.
Do this until you’re able to deliver the intro without forgetting major parts or big chunks.
Establish your Mindset
Accept that you feel anxious. It’s normal. Most people feel this way for two reasons. Firstly, because a presentation means you’ll be put on display, and you aren’t used to having attention focused on you that way. Secondly, because of the uncertainty that a presentation brings.
Understand that it’s a lot easier to focus on negative things and overlook the positive. For example, focusing on people thinking you bombed and not the value that the audience is likely to have received.
Practice your delivery
This is a crucial step for how to calm down before a presentation. A sure fire way to crush some fear is to show yourself how capable you are. Practice giving your presentation a handful of times before the day comes. If you can, get in front of some friends that you trust to get some feedback.
Another way to do this is use your smartphone to record yourself, then review the video to see where you can improve.
Show up a little early
This is important for getting comfortable with the location and the audience. Walk around, pay attention to the layout of the room, and look for things that could potentially distract you. This will help you feel more comfortable because you’ll extinguish the initial tension of being in a new place.
Another advantage of arriving early is taking the opportunity to talk to a few people that will be in the audience. This establishes allies for you in the audience so you don’t feel like you are presenting to strangers.
Have some water
The last thing you want is to get up to present and get stuck trying to clear your throat or pause to ask for water. Prepare yourself with a bottle of water just in case it’s not provided. This will ensure you don’t feel any dehydration symptoms, which could lead to getting distracted by the discomfort caused.
Visualize a successful presentation
Imagine yourself finishing the presentation and hearing the sound of applause. Visualize members of the audience thanking you, or colleagues congratulating you. These positive images help manifest a positive attitude, and that will show while you are speaking.
Review the situation with Youper
Moments of distress are exactly what Youper was designed for. Enter the anxiety assistant and analyze your thoughts to anchor them in reality and facts, not false expectations. Understanding how to calm down before a presentation in rooted in recognizing where the fear and anxiety comes from. Youper helps you uncover these roots.
Users report that this feature is just like interacting with a therapist.
A proven way to calm down in tense moments is a breathing exercise. When you get anxious your breathing gets faster. Progressively slowing down helps match your breathing from the start and ease you into a calmer state as the rhythm slows.
Deep breaths will get needed oxygen to the brain and the slowed rate will get you into a calmer state, the goal for learning how to calm down before a presentation.
Some regular old exercises
This could be anything from a fast-paced walk to stretches to jumping jacks. The main idea with doing some exercises is to ease the nerves and tension by using some of the angsty energy. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) reports that exercise can have an anti-anxiety effect.
Remind yourself fear is normal
Fear of public speaking is always high on the list of most common fears. Being judged is not something that humans feel comfortable with, and giving a presentation forces us to the vulnerable position of possibly being judged, compared to others, criticized, and more.
Find solace in knowing that everyone feels anxious before they present and that you feel this way because this is something that is important to you.
How to calm down before a presentation
Use as many or as few of these tips as you’d like, but remember that you don’t have to do all of them. That might be harder than giving the presentation! The important thing to do is what you feel you can do without adding to the pressure of the presentation. Still have questions about symptoms? Here is a post to help you learn more about social anxiety symptoms.
Do you have your own tips for how to calm down before a presentation? Describe what you do in the comments below.