Public speaking can be extremely nerve-wracking. In fact, according to some studies, the fear of public speaking ranks number one in the world, even above the fear of spiders! It can be especially scary when speaking at work in front of your colleagues and bosses. Below are some tips that can help you calm your nerves when speaking or giving a presentation at work.
Practice, practice, practice
It goes without saying that practice makes perfect, and in this case that is certainly true. The more you practice the better your presentation will feel and sound. Not only will it be more effective, but by practicing you are making sure that you know what you are saying, thus eliminating some of the anxiety associated with messing up your presentation. Although it can be difficult to find time to practice with a hectic schedule, taking ten minutes each day, even if it’s while you are getting ready for work, to practice.. It can make all the difference. And you don’t have to practice in front of anyone either. You can practice talking to your dog, your cat, your goldfish, or even your pillow. Practicing in front of a mirror is another great way to eliminate your anxiety. Mixing up your positions, such as standing, sitting, lying down, balancing on one leg, etc. can also help you to become more comfortable with your speech and help eliminate your anxiety.
Take those nerves and turn them upside down
If you’re feeling nervous or anxious before presenting, why not take that energy and use it in your speech. Lots of research has shown that an energetic and enthusiastic speech or presentation is more likely to keep your audience’s attention than a boring and dull monotonous one, no matter how eloquent. So when you feel that nervous energy rising within you, channel it into excitement and enthusiasm and use that in your presentation. This is sure to impress your bosses and will show that you are, in fact, passionate about what you are presenting.
Be there early
If you get to your boardroom or presentation room half an hour before you are supposed to start your presentation, you are just on time. Arriving early can allow you to breathe, practice the key points of your presentation, and set up any aids such as a projector, charts, or audio that you may need. This way if something doesn’t work or there is something missing, you will have the time to fix it or change your presentation to accommodate it. Being early also allows you to familiarize yourself and get comfortable with the room, where you are standing, and the layout which will help relieve anxiety and stress whilst presenting.
Talk, mingle, and engage
Try your best to acquaint yourself with your audience before beginning your presentation. Chances are you’ll already know most of the people who are listening. Greet everyone as they come in and share some small talk before starting. For example, if you know that your boss’s daughter had a piano recital the day before, ask about it and engage. This is likely to put him or her in a more receptive mood and relieve some of the anxiety or stress. Mingling before your presentation can also help reduce anxiety as you will feel as though your presentation is simply a continuation of the conversation you were having earlier.