9 Tips to Calm the Speaking Jitters
Some of the most elegant and polished speakers still get nervous before they face their audience. It’s a natural feeling. You’ll get nowhere by fretting over your fear or thinking about how awful your webinar presentation is going to be. You’ll only prolong your agony.
Instead, deal with your fear of speaking head on. Own it and then you can conquer it. It’s true. Here are 9 simple tips to help calm your jitters and prepare for a winning presentation.
1. Know Thyself
This means know your strengths and weaknesses. Use your strengths and leave your weaknesses at home. If you’re not a great joke teller, don’t try to start your presentation with a joke.
2. Get Familiar with Your Script but Don’t Memorize It
If you try to memorize your presentation or speech, getting lost in the middle of a sentence can cause panic. You want to speak in a natural voice, not one that’s stiff or monotone. Get intimate with your key talking points, but still leave room for spontaneous conversation.
3. Rehearse Out Loud
Rehearse your presentation until you feel completely comfortable with the sequence of your thought process and verbalizing it aloud. Allay your fear by rehearsing in front of family or friends.
4. Slow Your Roll
People tend to talk faster when they’re nervous. Practice your presentation at a slower-than-normal pace.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Animated
Your presentation or speech is nothing more than a conversation with your audience. Communicate with them using hand gestures and facial expressions that help make your speech more lively and engaging.
6. Don’t Shake a Leg
If you get shaky legs or have a nervous habit of shifting back and forth, consider sitting instead of standing in front of the camera.
7. Mark Your Foot Stops
If you have to walk during your presentation, place markers on the floor so you know where to stop. That way you won’t inadvertently walk out of the frame of the camera.
8. When the Time Comes, Limit Distractions
Don’t let unnecessary people be around you or in your field of view during your presentation. Make sure that you won’t be interrupted by ringing cell phones, computer alarms, or any other background noises.
9. Don’t Go for Perfection
Going off script or fumbling a word isn’t going to ruin your presentation. If it happens, don’t freeze like a deer in headlights or draw unnecessary attention to the hiccup. Look down at your notes, take a sip of water, regain your bearings. Your audience knows you’re human.
Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Remember that you have something valuable to offer your audience. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Accept who you are, relax, and show your audience who they came to see.