Updated: Sep 23
The first day of school. The first time you asked a girl out. The first kiss. The first tree you climbed. The first time you walked home from school on my own. The first time you got in trouble. The first job interview. The first day at the office. The first time you drove a car. The first time you spoke in public. The first time you saw your child.
All these activities have three things in common. (1) There all firsts, (2) There all exciting events (3) There all scary events.
Each one of these provokes emotions of Fear, Anxiety and Apprehension, but also Excitement, Anticipation, and Enthusiasm.
Each one of these events affect us all on an emotional level, we have all been through most of these situations, for some of us the results were positive for some of us negative, for most of us it was somewhere in between.
So how can we prepare ourselves so that even the scariest of presentation or life change event can be taken in stride and performed to the best of our abilities? Well, the simple answer is… there is no simple answer. Sorry.
We are all different, with different past experiences that affect our present, make us unique, hold us back and drive us forward.
However, without a doubt there three underlining areas where you can take control, vanquish your inhibitions and present a true representation of your self.
(1) Practice. There is no excuse for not practicing ever. If you work in a company, you know that at some point you are going to have to do a presentation, so practice doing them, on your own in front of the mirror, with friend and family or join a public speaking club/group like www.goibcn.com. Then once your boss asks you to do a presentation in the morning at least you will have the skills even if you don’t have the material.
(2) Observe. You are not the first person in the world to give a presentation, millions have gone before you and some brave souls even make a living doing it. So find one you like and watch them. Watch how they move, there hand gestures, facial expressions, their mannerisms. Learn one of their presentations off by heart then video yourself doing it. Watch how your own body reacts to the words you are saying and think about if your movements correspond to the emotional portrait.
(3) Control. Your body can do some pretty stupid things to itself when it’s nervous or scared, like make you stop breathing, sweat or contract your bladder to the size of a pea. However, you have to remember it’s you that’s in control, not your primal instinct. There are many technics to controlling nerves and you should explore all of them to find what works for you. The one that suits me is by vocalising my situation. I tell myself out loud that I’m about to go on stage, that I am prepared and comfortable with my presentation and that the worst thing that can happen is that people will clap out of obligation. This tends to calm me down and focus me so I can enjoy the presentation.
As I have said previously, there are many ways to improve your presenting skills, if you want to get better, you can.
Find a mentor, join a club, motivate yourself to improve and be the best you can be.