Big Presentation? Here’s How to Keep Your Cool When The Pressure’s On
Is it warm in here or is it just me...? We all know that feeling, when you're delivering a presentation and doubts start to creep into your mind about whether or not you're actually connecting with your audience.
There are many different ways you can prepare for the big day and we've cherry-picked the cream of the crop. So you can be at your best and keep that all-important cool.
Think of your presentation as a gift
Change your perspective and think of your presentation as a gift to your audience. It can really help you to feel confident and more comfortable about standing up there in front of everyone. They are there to hear you speak and learn something. Don’t get yourself into a tangle over it. Stand tall, be confident about your knowledge and give them something to put a smile on their face.
Prepare, practice, practice some more
Preparation is everything. Writing and preparing your presentation is your number one priority. After that, practise your presenting skills in front of a mirror or ask a colleague or friend to help you. That way you can ensure your body language is on point with what you’re saying, and get some honest feedback that will improve your delivery. Practise a few times ahead of the day to iron out the kinks and refine your message. Get familiar with the content so when you take centre stage you’ll feel cool, calm and confident.
Get familiar with the venue, the room, the set-up
The last thing you want to do is walk into to the venue and suddenly start to panic: Did they say the AV was set up already? Is there a microphone? Do they definitely have Wi-Fi? Even if you have the best presentation in the world, if your audience can't hear you properly, see you - or get on the Wi-Fi during breaks to tweet - you’re guaranteed to get stressed. And that’s what they’ll remember you for, not the presentation. Get ahead, call the venue and make sure you’re calling all the shots.
Don't go into adrenalin overdrive
Before big events, anticipation, expectation, stress and even anxiety can often kick in. It causes a surge in adrenalin levels, and before you know it, your heart rate has shot up and you look like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Find a quiet space and get it under control with several calming, yogic breaths. Inhale deeply through the nose and exhale with a sigh through the mouth. Make your exhalations longer than your inhalations. It taps into your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you to slow your heart rate and relax.
Know your audience
Pay attention to your audience. Who are they? Are you talking to them in the right way, or could you make your message more relevant? When you're in full presentation mode, it's easy to just scan around the room, but truly skilful and confident presenters always respond to their audience. Pay attention to their reactions. If you can see they are dying to ask questions, pick out a couple and respond. They'll be impressed with your ability to deliver the right message in an engaging way, and give an authentic, genuine response to their questions.
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