Presentation sharing websites, like SharePresentation, has made it easier than ever before to communicate ideas. With the number of remote workers in India predicted to increase in the years to come, sharing presentations online will be a significant part of sharing business ideas. However, while such technologies will help you deliver facts and data to people, you will still need to present these ideas. But, not everyone is comfortable on a stage, due to several stage fright and public speaking anxieties. So, how do people with such issues come forward and make effective presentations? Certain people rank their fear of public speaking, as higher than their fear of dying! Therefore, this is an actual issue that requires a lot of thought and effort to handle and overcome. Here are a few tips which will help you overcome your public speaking anxiety.
Symptoms of Public Speaking Anxiety
- Worry weeks/months in advance
- Pounding heart
- Quivering voice
- Cold sweat
- Shortness of breath
- Upset stomach
- Shaky hands
- Lack of sleep in the days leading up to the event
Ways to Help Overcome Presentation Anxiety
1. First and foremost, you need to accept that you are scared. To be afraid, isn’t something shameful. If anything, it is a good sign, because it shows you that what you are about to do matters a great deal to you. Therefore, people should get inspired by this and try to acknowledge their fears. Once you accept that you are nervous or afraid, you can begin working to handle the issue. Also, this anxiety produces adrenalin, which, when used efficiently, can help you think faster and give your presentation fluently.
2. Understand that perfection does not exist. No matter how much you calm yourself down, you will not be able to give a perfect presentation. The most important thing to understand here is that NOONE gives perfect presentations. Don’t work yourself into a panic attack by fussing about whether your presentation will be perfect or not. Try to calm down and understand that while your presentation might not be perfect, it can be effective.
3. Preparation is critical when it comes to handling your nerves. Therefore, make sure that you have gone over what you are about to speak multiple times. Also, share presentations online beforehand, so that the crowd also has something to refer to. This way, they will be able to follow you easily, making it easier for you to speak. Research on your topic and make sure you have a good understanding of all the points you will be covering in your speech.
4. If you feel incredibly under-confident, call up a few friends from work and have them listen to your speech. This will not only prepare you for the actual presentation but will also help you improve your method. You will be able to gain some insight and feedback, both of which can go a long way in helping you speak and articulate better.
5. Once you are done reading through your speech or notes, try to visualize yourself speaking. Imagine a situation wherein the crowd loves what you talked about, and are cheering for you. Such positive visualization is said to help put the mind at ease. Practice this technique a couple of times before taking the stage, if you are feeling overly anxious.
6. Remember to breathe and calm yourself down. Breathe deeply from your chest and stomach before taking the stage. This will help you slow your heartbeat down so that you don’t get too anxious while up on stage. You can also try listening to music before taking the step, to calm your nerves. Certain people start their day with a half-hour session of Yoga, to put themselves in the right place mentally. Certain others feel at peace when they watch a funny video or talk to their friends before taking the stage. Figure out what works for you and then implement that strategy.
7. One of the best things you can do while presenting to an audience is keeping them engaged. This will help them stay attentive and engrossed in what you are trying to say. Therefore, look for ways to involve the audience. Not only will they appreciate you for doing so, but it will also reduce the pressure on your back. So, move from a monologue structure to a dialogue, in order, to capture the audience’s attention.
8. As far as possible, try to avoid junk food, caffeine and alcohol before you take the stage. These items tend to make you feel bloated, sluggish and in the case of coffee, edgy. None of these help in soothing your nerves, and hence, such food must be avoided. They can also make your hands jittery, which, in turn, makes the audience feel like you are very uncomfortable on stage. Furthermore, they may increase your heartbeat, further increasing your anxiety and chances for a panic attack.
9. Also, understand that it perfectly normal if you are suffering from this issue. It affects a lot of people from around the world and is not a significant concern. However, different people suffer from various symptoms, and in case, these steps don’t work, you might have to try therapy to calm yourself down. Make sure you seek professional help if the problem persists for extended periods.
As we have seen, being scared is something that happens to everyone. While it is perfectly normal to be anxious about speaking in public, you can handle these issues with ease. Follow these tips to help yourself get over such fears and go ahead to give a great presentation. All you need to remember that handling the problem and facing it with courage, will help you overcome any problem, however big or small.