I find it hard to comprehend when people say that they simply ‘don’t get nervous’ when presenting ideas to their colleagues or peers. The idea of standing up and spilling your heart and soul in front of others readily and eagerly for their judgement personally makes me feel slightly vulnerable. I had an assessed presentation today and whilst my nervous brain would have me believe that if I say a single word wrong, my whole career would go down the toilet, I had to keep reminding myself that this was not the case.
Regardless, this then caused numerous bodily reactions that were less than welcome; nervous sweating, fidgeting, general nausea and saying, “it’s hot in here isn’t it?” whilst fanning myself profusely with my hands… When I have to publicly speak my mouth is either too wet or too dry and my voice is accelerated like I’m somehow in a race with myself. However; when walking into the presentation room, it was ‘game face’ time and I got through it! (Yay). Being prepared along with knowing and believing in what I was saying was key. I also recently learnt some tips to help control my nerves… (tried and tested, here they are…)
If you are presenting in a group, be the ‘clicker’; (be the person to click the mouse onto the next slide). Then you will be concentrating on the little cue’s your team mates are giving you to change the slide which means less time spent panicking.
Lean on something; if there is a table or a wall you can lean on, lean into it slightly and put pressure where you’re leaning. It will help to steady you and stop you from shaking (sounds crazy but it genuinely works). If there is a lectern, even better!
Engage with your surroundings; ensuring that you ‘own the room’ and using the space you have been given will help you to focus and not fidget. You are allowed to move around (unless stated otherwise)!
Accept that it is natural to be nervous; nerves are normal! It just means that you want to do well.
Smile; easier said than done, but smiling helps you ‘fake it until you make it’ with your audience, making them more engaged in what you are saying.
I hope they help!