Picture this: you’re about to give an incredibly important presentation to your team in the next 10 minutes. You’re trying to stay calm, but you start to sweat, your heart is pumping, and you feel like you’re panicking.
Most of us know this feeling all too well, even if we have tens or hundreds of presentations under our belt. Though, as difficult it seems to control our nerves before a presentation, there are several ways you can prepare your body and your mind to get in the best shape possible.
Here are some tips to use before you present for the best performance you can give:
Take Some Deep Breaths
People experiencing anxiety feel tightness and compression in their throat and chest, making it feel difficult to breathe. As you get closer and closer to your presentation, it’s important to take deep breaths to relax your body and mind and get rid of that uncomfortable feeling. It’s better to practice the moments before you start presenting – you don’t want to walk in feeling like you can’t breathe.
Go to the Bathroom
Above anything else, one of the first things you should be doing while you’re waiting to give your presentation is getting everything out of your system. Literally. It’s a common feeling to have to go to the bathroom when you’re feeling anxious – why take the risk and ignore it? Definitely plan ahead so you can give yourself enough time to use the bathroom right before you start presenting.
Give Yourself a Positive Pep-talk
Having a winner’s mindset and encouraging yourself can be powerful tools to use before you present. In fact, it’s suggested by research that when dealing with these kinds of situations, using either “you” or your own first name can be more effective than “I” when trying to encourage yourself.
It’s best to write down a set of self-encouraging statements – like “You are confident and prepared!” – and say them aloud, but with confidence. That way, you can actually believe in what you are saying and feel more determined that you will do well.
Check out the meeting room and audiovisual set-up.
It may often be the case that you will be speaking in a room you have never visited before. As such, you should give a quick look to electronics, lighting, and seating arrangement in the room. Also check to see where the microphone is and give yourself and idea of the space you’ll have to move on-stage.
Make sure to arrive early so you can give yourself enough time to get familiar with your environment, so there won’t be any awkwardness as you present.
Outline and Practice the Presentation in Your Mind
The last thing you want to happen is that you walk on stage and completely forget how you wanted to start your presentation. Regardless of what you plan on saying, it’s important to practice your lines mentally so you can feel more comfortable with them and not lose track of your thoughts. If you know exactly what you’re going to say at the beginning, you’ll feel more confident in yourself so you can focus on the audience and create a strong first impression. It’s great if you brought note cards with you too, but it’s especially impressive if you have them on you but don’t need them.
Show a Positive Attitude and Smile
Even if you might not feel confident yet, keeping a cheerful and positive look on your face right before you present can help your body relax. According to Daniel Price, author of “Well Said!: Presentations and Conversations That Get Results”, smiling actually releases endorphins that give you a more pleasant attitude by calming your nerves.
At the same time, smiling and having a pleasant expression help convey self-confidence, and you’ll portray to your audience your enthusiasm about what you’re presenting.
If you use your time wisely with these tips before you present, I can guarantee you that you will feel confident in yourself and make a great impression on your audience. Good luck!