You’ve just been told that you will be presenting at your next large group meeting.
You start to sweat, your hands get shaky, and you instantly feel your mouth start to dry.
This anxious feeling is often associated with the thought of talking in front of a large group of people. But don’t worry, you are not the only one who has ever felt this way.
Having stage fright is pretty common, as 77% of people experience it! But, there are steps that you can take not only to gain confidence before your next presentation but also to lose the nerves altogether.
The next time you are looking to calm your nerves before a presentation, do these ten things:
Stop the negative self-talk
First things first, you need to believe you can succeed. Repeating phrases like “I can’t,” “I am not good enough,” or any other self-doubts will leave you feeling even more anxious and less prepared.
You need to be filling your mind up with positivity. Phrases like “I can do this,” “I am capable,” and “I am good enough” are going to do so much good for you, and positive visualization can lead you to ultimate success.
Remember, there is always room for growth. Even if your presentations have not gone well in the past, you can get better. Keeping a growth mindset and forgiving yourself will be the best way to calm your nerves and gain confidence.
Breathe in, breathe out. It sounds so simple but is often overlooked.
If you feel your heart start to increase the tempo or need to slow down while talking, the best thing to do is slow your breath and focus on your breathing pattern.
Deep breathing is the best way to reduce stress and anxiety, regulate adrenaline, and even allow you to think more clearly.
Practice power poses
There is scientific evidence that sitting or standing in specific ways can immediately change the body’s chemistry.
That means sitting crouched down and looking at your phone before a presentation can increase nervousness and make you appear more closed off.
While doing a high-power pose, which is about opening up and taking up as much space as possible, leaves you feeling 20% more powerful and less stressed.
Smiling is contagious.
This means that if you appear to be enjoying yourself while speaking, others will also feel this sense of joy and smile back.
Your audience wants you to succeed, and knowing that they are usually there to learn and not to judge, can help you fight any extra nerves you may be feeling.
Chewing gum before a big presentation or performance can help you feel more relaxed!
Studies have shown that gum chewing can increase alertness and lower anxiety.
Just don’t forget- gum should be thrown away before the presentation!
Failing to do so can leave you looking less professional and make you harder to understand.
Practice, practice, practice!
Practice makes you better, and being prepared before your presentation is a good idea and crucial to your overall success. Prepare your notes, do your research, and rehearse your talk.
Being familiar with the topic you are speaking about will help you look more confident, even if you feel a little nervous.
Practicing in front of friends, family and even recording yourself to get feedback on how you did can help you learn. The best way to see what areas need more work is to see what your presentation looks like and feels like for yourself.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask if you can use the presentation space early.
Practicing where your presentation will take place can also help you become more familiar with the venue and decrease any butterflies you may be experiencing.
The best way to calm yourself before a presentation is to arrive early.
Not only will this remove any fear of being late, but it also gives you additional time to rehearse.
Having time to get into a power pose position, adjust your mindset, and adapt to the venue before executing your presentation will aid your overall performance.
Exercise the day of the presentation
Exercise can boost endorphins, and getting those going before your presentation will help diminish any anxiety.
Long-term exercise can also boost mood and increase enthusiasm, so making this part of your health journey can improve your ability to present confidently.
Drink lots of water
Anxiety can usually result in a dry mouth.
Being on top of this side effect by sipping your water regularly the week of your presentation and the day of your presentation can help your voice be more assertive and your throat not get so scratchy.
But be mindful of how much water you should have leading up to the presentation. Its length and duration could determine when you can run to the restroom.
Caffeine not only increases your heart rate and sweating but can also make you give off nervous energy, even if you are feeling adequate.
Being mindful of this and not drinking excessive caffeine will lower your stress level and give you more control of the cadence of your presentation.
Going for a tea or half of a coffee, instead of three shots of espresso, before a presentation will leave you feeling calm and level-headed.
The Bottom Line
Stage fright is very common and is a natural response when speaking in front of a crowd.
It is possible to present with enthusiasm and conviction with the proper preparation and support.
Practicing often, being open to growth, and learning what works best for you is what will take you from an okay presenter to a confident one.