It strikes at the worst time possible. Your presentation is coming up, and your palms are getting sweaty. Public speaking is a notoriously stress-inducing exercise, and at some point, we all feel those pre-performance jitters. Earlier this month, we saw presentation anxiety at its worst when world-renowned director Michael Bay left the stage following a teleprompter malfunction at a recent press event. Other celebrities, including Barbara Streisand, Maya Angelou, and Grammy Award-winning singer Adele, have also suffered with bouts of stage fright.
Fortunately, there's plenty of ways to alleviate your anxiety before your next big meeting. Learn from other's mistakes, consider our suggestions below, and get those nerves in check.
We all want to give that perfect presentation, but in life, there are few "perfect" moments. Instead, focus on quality. At the end of the day, you can be sure that you gave quality presentation, that the information you shared was accurate, and that the audience was fully engaged. A great presenter isn't one who never makes mistakes…a great presenter knows how to recover and continue gracefully.
Harness nervous energy to transform your nerves into genuine excitement. Think carefully about your topic. What about the topic do you particularly enjoy? When you present a topic you're passionate about, you'll find it much easier to discuss it in an engaging way.
Use your Imagination
We're not suggesting that you imagine your audience in their underwear. Instead, visualize something that makes you happy. Take an image with you that reminds you of something you love. Some presenters find it easier to imagine that something – or someone – they love is in the room with them. Visualizing a calming image, idea, or even a family member can drive your nervous energy away.
Don't Give Up
Remember, you're prepared, you're practiced, you've got this. Even if you lose your place or forget to mention a key point – you can recover. Take a short pause, collect your thoughts, and continue. As with any skill, practice makes perfect.