Feeling nervous before giving a presentation is completely normal.  Many seasoned public speakers suffer from nerves, myself included, and there are techniques I’m going to share with you to help you channel your nerves into energy and high performance. 


Relaxation exercises 

You can practice these relaxation exercises on the morning of your presentation.  I call it ‘the rag doll’ pose as it loosens all the muscles and helps to center the breath. 


Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Unlock your knees and keep your spine straight.  Take a big deep breath, reach slowly upwards with your hands, and aim to touch the ceiling, keeping your feet flat on the floor. 


Now flop forward from the waist bending your knees slightly.  Swing from right to left and give your ribs a good rub whilst you’re there, whilst taking in deep a breath.  Straighten up slowly, keeping your head till last.  Then rest in an easy position.  


Warm up the voice

As you’re going to be projecting your voice, a vocal warm-up will ensure that you lower the breath to your diaphragm and allow you to reach a wider range of pitch with your speaking voice.  When we get nervous, our breath goes up to the chest and this means we can’t get as much air into our lungs.  


Place your hand on your diaphragm. This is found at the base of your ribs in the center just above your abdomen.  


After a slow deep inhalation, expel sharply by contracting the abdominal muscles hard with a loud “huh.” Make sure your larynx and throat stay relaxed and open. Repeat this several times. 


You can also warm up the voice with the tongue trill. Lightly place your tongue tip behind your upper teeth and exhale while vibrating your tongue tip in a trill. Move up and down your register to get more range in your voice. 


Arrive in good time 

Give yourself plenty of time to get to the venue and get set up.  You may be required early to do a soundcheck, but even if you aren’t, arriving in good time, getting familiar with the venue and the room you are speaking in, and having a walk on the stage will help you prepare and feel more in control. 


Mingle with your audience 

Try to mingle with your audience as they are arriving and having coffee. By connecting with them in an informal way, it will take your mind off your presentation and help you get to know them a little bit. Who knows, having a conversation with them could give you some golden nuggets that you could weave into your presentation too.


Ground yourself 

When we get nervous, our shoulders go higher and our chest tightens so you need to ground yourself and shift your center of gravity. 


One technique I like to use is to strike a power pose: feet apart, firmly on the ground, hands either by your side or on your hips and take in some deep breathes in this position.  You’ll notice how much more confident this makes you feel just by grounding yourself. 


Turn nerves into excitement

There’s a fine line between nerves and excitement, and sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate. Focus on the excitement rather than the nerves and channel this energy into your presentation in anticipation of sharing your knowledge with others and communicating your exciting ONE BIG MESSAGE®.


Drink water

Drink plenty of water in the morning and just before you are due to speak.  Adrenalin can cause your mouth to feel dry, which can prevent you from projecting your voice. Reduce caffeine in the morning and replace it with water. Your throat will thank you for it!


If you’re feeling nervous during your presentation you’ll pace too quickly and your message will be lost. Take your time and use pauses to gather your thoughts and center your breath and think about your next point. 

It goes without saying that a well-prepared presentation will have far less chance of being affected by your nerves.  Contact me today for a FREE consultation so I can help prepare you for your next presentation. 

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