If you are like most students, you become a nervous wreck when required to get up in front of your peers to give a presentation. During the speech, you may begin to shake, perspire, blush, or even forget what you want to say. This is a pretty normal reaction because even the most seasoned public speakers tend to have feelings of nervousness before making a presentation. However, they get through it because they use techniques to control their nerves. Put the following techniques to use the next time you have to give a presentation.
Prepare. To help feel comfortable during your presentation, you must be well prepared. Be sure to thoroughly research your topic and have visual aids if needed. If you will be using equipment, such as projectors, laptops, etc., make sure you are familiar with using them before your presentation begins.
Make an outline. In case your mind goes completely blank when you get up to give your presentation, you want to have something to fall back on. Therefore, you should make an outline of your key points. Do not write down everything you want to say because you will be tempted to read straight from your notes. Having just an outline of important ideas will make your presentation sound more conversational, therefore making your audience more interested in what you have to say.
Practice. The more you practice your speech, the more easily the words will flow, and the less you will have to rely on your notes. Try saying your speech while looking in a mirror in order to practice eye contact. Also, consider recording your practice speech, so you can play it back to hear how you sound and to listen for mistakes. You will also want to practice your presentation in front of a live audience, so grab a few friends and ask for their feedback. Practicing in front of your friends will help you get comfortable in front of an audience, therefore reducing your anxiety of the actual presentation.
Loosen up. Before the big presentation, take some quiet time to get your thoughts together. Take deep breaths to help ease your nerves. You may even want to try stretching to help loosen up.
Remember that the audience understands your anxiety. If you have to give a presentation for your class, then your peers probably have to as well. Everyone in your class is more than likely feeling just as nervous as you. Knowing that others are feeling your pain may help make the experience easier.
Picture yourself succeeding. If you imagine that you are going to give a good presentation without shaking, blushing, or forgetting key points, then that scenario is more likely to happen. The power of imagination is very strong, so think good thoughts!
Public speaking is a task feared by many, but keep in mind that the more you do it, the easier it will become. Giving as many presentations as possible while still in school will help prepare you for the speeches you may have to give in your future career.