Fear of public speaking is a common phobia. Some people experience slight nervousness, while other people experience paralyzing fear and panic attacks before and during public presentations. While you may prefer to avoid the uncomfortable situation of having to give a presentation in front of others, more than likely you will find yourself in this position at one time or another. While you may never feel totally comfortable speaking publicly, there are techniques you can use to reduce nervousness and anxiety and increase your level of confidence.
Research and study your topic to ensure you have full understanding. Educate yourself on the subject of the presentation and your presentation points so that you feel confident in your knowledge of the topic. Imagine any questions your audience might ask, and research the answers.
Practice your presentation as much as possible. Practice in front of the mirror, or record yourself with a camera or a voice recorder. Ask friends and family to listen to your presentation and offer feedback.
Organize your materials so that you can quickly and easily access them. Prepare notes, props and audio or visual aids in the order they will be used. Prepare a small outline of your presentation to keep you on track.
Brainstorm every possible problem that could arise, and think of solutions. Consider what alternative media options you will use in case of a malfunction, if you are using technological aids.
Visualize yourself successfully giving your presentation. Imagine walking up to the podium, greeting your audience and giving your speech from beginning to end.
Practice in the presentation space beforehand, if possible, so that you can familiarize yourself with the equipment and space. Go through your entire presentation, including the use of your audio or visual aids. Arrive at the presentation space early the day of the event to allow yourself time to prepare your materials and calm your nerves.
Take deep, slow breaths before getting up to start your presentation. Tense and release your muscles and hands to relax your body.
Take a moment to visualize a time when you felt confident before stepping up to begin your presentation. Remember how that moment felt, and harness that confident feeling as you stand to begin your presentation. Continue to project this confidence throughout your presentation.
Remember that the audience more than likely will not notice any signs of your nervousness. They cannot see your shaking hands and probably didn’t notice the quivering in your voice or the slight pause when you forgot your next point.