Dealing with nerves
Even the best speakers get nervous before a presentation – it’s natural. The key is how to channel that nervous energy, tension and adrenaline in a positive and productive way.
Nerves can get the better of us before and/or during a presentation. Here’s how you can address anxieties to ensure your performance is not affected (Theobold 2013: 103):
Prepare: make sure you have planned and fully prepared your talk in advance
Practise: rehearsing your talk is vital
Arrive early: familiarise yourself with the venue, check technology and any notes/cue cards that you are using
Stay hydrated: drink some water and avoid caffeine
Relax: use strategies such as breathing exercises, closing your eyes and counting to ten, and having a positive mental attitude by telling yourself that it will be a successful talk
Focus: centre your thoughts for a few seconds by having a quiet moment
Smile: aim to start your talk in a confident and positive way
Listen to the following story of a presentation that went horribly wrong.
What did the speaker do wrong and how could they have prepared better?
Theobald, T. (2016) Develop Your Presentation Skills. London: KoganPage
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