Do you have a presentation coming up? Are you feeling a bit nervous?
Well, you’re not alone. At least 77% of people report that public speaking is at “phobia level” for them. And likely those are just the people telling the truth.
The folks who aren’t nervous about a speech have learned the techniques to be calm cool and collected.
You know the ones. They get up there and exude a bit of the old executive presence. They make you laugh and feel comfortable.
They speak concisely and at a normal rate of speech.
This results in their getting their message across to a fare-thee-well! They persuade you without your even noticing!
It's normal to be nervous before a presentation.
So you guessed it. It’s completely normal to be nervous before a speech.
Actually, it’s genetics! We are genetically programmed to be fearful of strangers & groups of people. Not so long ago, the chance of strangers trying to do you some harm was very likely.
So you have good reason to be nervous before & during a presentation.
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We hung out in tribes. Other tribes were competition. Yeah. So fight or flight is the typical way people react to public speaking. It’s up to us to change that. It’s up to us to actually learn how not to be nervous.
Imagine if they taught you to not be nervous in school? How cool would that be?
Presentation skills aren’t taught in school. In fact every few years they used to tell kids that a presentation is due and that they had to go home and work on it. The teachers never helped! The presentation would be due on a particular day and the students have to present cold.
But now they’ve removed presenting from the curriculum altogether! (It’s up to you to help your children not be nervous before speaking to an audience–send them to me, I can help! It will save them lots of trouble in the future.)
It’s up to you to learn how to not be nervous.
And it’s clearly a priority. Your livelihood, as well as your personal life, depends on it!
So the fear and anxiety build up in children, teens & adults until it becomes a phobia! Here you are, too nervous to tell your incredible tale to the audience that needs to hear it.
But have no fear! Follow these 6 steps to not be nervous before a presentation.
How to not be nervous before and during a presentation.
Public speaking is a skill you can develop. Just follow these steps:
- Be relaxed.
- Love your audience.
- Breathe. Use abdominal breathing.
- Use air for speech & pause between phrases.
- Change your mindset. You are a vessel for an important message. One they can benefit from.
- Have an inspiring song in your head as you walk on stage.
- Keep your arms open and hands visible.
- Lead with your core, not your head.
- Consider & make changes to your body language and facial expressions.
- Get out of a bad moment easily.
I’ll go over each of these in more detail below. Please proceed. 🙂
Ah, the shame of feeling nervous.
Not only are we genetically wired to go into fight or flight when we’re faced with groups of people (and many other times), and we weren’t taught a darn thing about being relaxed anywhere in our schooling…
But guess what else? There’s another reason that most normal people are nervous before and during presentations.
We feel shame when something comes out of our mouths not as beautifully as intended. We actually feel, as a society that we should be able to think a thought, get this, think a thought, and have that thought come out mellifluously.
Let me say this again. We have an idea crystallized in our minds. “Ooh! What a brilliant idea I have!”
Then when we let it come out of our mouths it’s jibber-jabber. Then we think “What the fork? Why didn’t it come out just as I thought it!?”
Everything we’re good at we’ve learned and practiced.
Allow me to retort. The reason it didn’t come out as you thought it is because you didn’t learn the techniques to SPEAKING IT.
Every single thing you’re good at, you’ve worked on! Every single thing. Yet you berate yourself for not getting the words out perfectly without learning and practicing the techniques.
Picture this: Someone hands you a cello. You’ve never seen one up close. You pick it up, try to make some notes and you sound like fingernails on a chalkboard. You get so depressed, you bury your head in the sand and vow never to pick up the cello again.
Can you even imagine feeling that way about your career? Sports you play? Would you ever feel humiliated if you didn’t do something really, really well without learning the techniques and practicing?!
No. You wouldn’t.
Steps to Not Be Nervous Before & During a Presentation
- Be Relaxed. Learn some relaxation exercises. I have some fantastic ones. You can come to me, or you can go online to find some. Make being relaxed a habit. I teach all of my clients to FindYourRelaxedPlace in every communicative situation of their lives.
You’ll need to do your relaxation exercises for a few weeks for them to stick. The best way to do this is to make BeingInYourRelaxedPlace a habit in your life.
- Love Your Audience.
I talk about loving your audience all over this blog. Once you let go of worrying that everyone in the audience doesn’t like you or thinks you’re dumb and realize you’re just here for your listeners, your skills will improve a thousand-fold.
- Once you remove the focus from yourself & think only about what the audience knows & what they need to know from you, you don’t worry about whether your audience will like you. Feel free to put some bullet points on note paper & refer to it now & again until you get more comfy.
- Pick a song that motivates you and walk onto the stage with that song in your head. Stepping to the beat. (Subtly) Dancing onto the stage. How’s about a little JT “Can’t Stop the Feeling” Or “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees. I’m telling you the dancing thing works!
- Keep your arms wide open for 10 minutes before your speech. Keep your arms open as you walk out on stage. A relaxed body will make it so you’ll not be nervous at all. You’ll feel happy!
When your body is closed, you lose control over yourself & have no control over others. We need to control others! Not to do evil things! Please don’t do that. But we need people to believe that we’re experts in our wheelhouses. We need to control them enough to get them to understand our message & follow our call-to-action.
- As you walk on stage, make sure you lead with your core & not your head. It would help if you did this throughout your life. Your Body Language can control your emotions. Use them to your advantage.
Are you serious about learning to be relaxed?
Let me do this for you. You and I can get this done in a ridiculously short time. To learn more click here.
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer take The Voice Spa online video course. It teaches you to be relaxed, how to be concise, use a voice that’s compelling & how to influence others. You have lifetime access & you’re notified anytime there’s new coursework.
There’s a bit of homework involved, of course, but it will give you an incredibly comfortable and impactful speaking style as a habit in your life!
Everyone who's comfortable onstage has learned the techniques to not being nervous.
They’ve addressed it head-on. It takes more courage to admit you’re nervous than it does to get up there and speak! So you’ve come very far. Don’ stop now.
Remember your primitive brain doesn’t know the difference between standing in front of an audience and a life & death situation. You have to teach it.
Stop beating yourself up for being nervous before a presentation. Figure out what you’re specifically doing wrong and fix it like a scientist.
Once your body gets comfortable in front of an audience it will easily be able to have a gorgeous open body language and easy facial expressions.
Don't allow small mistakes to take you down.
Many clients have shown me videos of their presentations. Things are going along well and suddenly they make an error. They misspoke or had a quick stammer.
Everything suddenly goes downhill!
Don’t let this happen to you. This is all a part of being nervous. Nobody wants to see a robot. You don’t have to be perfect, so brush it off. Even go so far as to poke fun at yourself.
You can train yourself to not be nervous.
As well you should.
Some people love tips. Tips are great, but you don’t have access to them when you’re nervous.
You can & must learn to be completely relaxed as a habit. Then you’ll never be nervous again!
People will comprehend and adore your message. You’ll be sought-after! Because your message will be so engaging.
Who out there doesn’t think their message should be heard?
You can defeat the nervousness forces!
Don’t let the forces of fight or flight, lack of education in grammar and high school, and shame of not doing something perfectly stop you from being an incredible public speaker.
It’s super easy to learn the techniques. You can take The Voice Spa online video course. It will change your life.
The Voice Spa trains you to be habitually relaxed in high-stake situations. You can learn to be relaxed during interviews, public speaking, making small talk with someone who makes you nervous, going on a first date, the list of high-stakes situations is nearly endless.
The people who are powerful, magnetic, and convincing public speakers have already learned the techniques and are crushing their TED talks and their shark tank appearances.
So don’t wait too long!
I want to hear your stories about how you learned to not be nervous in a high-stakes situation. Please type in the comments below. Were you ever nervous? In what types of situations did you feel nervous?
5 thoughts on “How to Not Be Nervous Before a Presentation”
Your tips are great! I identified a lot with the second tip. Beyond love, the domain of the content to be worked counts a lot.
Breathing is my relaxation technique before and during the presentation. Helps keep you focused. Meditation also helps a lot.
I really appreciate that, Vania!
I had no idea that we were genetically programmed to be fearful of groups of people. Very interesting. I will have to try singing a song in my head and moving to the beat during the next time I have to give a presentation in front of my colleagues.
Kinda genius the Love your audience thing. I never really thought about it but I always worry about what everyone thinks of me instead of the other way around.
I’m excited to try this. I’m hoping I can keep my self-sabotaging thoughts out of my head!
And putting a favorite song in your head when your onstage is a great one!
I meant “you’re”