Limit Your Presentation Fears

We have all had times when we have felt great, even excited to present in front of a crowd. We felt confident, knew we were going to impress everyone watching with our knowledge and command of the English language. Remember those times?

Unfortunately, for most of us this is only a faint memory from our childhood or no memory at all. For most of us, a passing thought giving a presentation in front of even a small group of people can leave us waking up in a cold sweat.

It’s not our fault that we feel this overwhelming stress related to presenting and public speaking. With pressures to perform in the workplace at an all time high and the prevalence of social media how could we not be afraid? It’s difficult to avoid the mental picture of viewing yourself in a Youtube video with the comment “what were they thinking”. No wonder we get chills.

There is hope! Want to know the secret?  The inside story of how some people seem to give amazing presentations effortlessly? Do you want to earn a promotion? Are you trying to impress your co-workers? 

President ObamaCredit:

Here are the top 3 Tips for being the talk of the office after your next presentation:

1. Plan your presentation. This does not mean write word for word what you will say but rather the main points. If it won’t fit on 3 cue cards you are writing too much. It helps to structure it with the following-

Introduction - Point #1 - Point #2 - Point #3 – Conclusion

Oh, and if you happen to use PowerPoint, easy on the slide number, less is more here.

2. Begin with a bang!!! You want to engage your audience right away. This will make you stand out… BIG TIME. Start with a quote or a question and stop. Well, don’t stop, just pause. Repeat the quote or questions again… and pause. This will put you ahead of most of the presenters your workplace has even seen.

Speech MLKCredit:

3. This is a big secret! Don’t say anything or it will stop being a secret. Wait for it. EVERYONE IS AFRAID OF PRESENTING! Let me repeat, everyone is afraid of presenting. From your department manager, who seems to be so smooth, to professional presenters and public speakers, they all have fears related to presenting. The biggest key is to manage your anxiety level.

Here is what I want you to do. Breath. Simple enough, right? The key here is Yoga style breaths: breathe in as deeply as you can, hold for a count of 5, breathe out for a count of 5, and hold for 5. If nothing else, focusing on all this counting will take your mind off the task to come and help you to relax.

So there you have it. You are now ready to become the talk of the office… in a good way. Many say that there is a strong connection between willingness to speak in public and upward career mobility. I agree.

The more presenting you do the better you will become! So go get started! Getting started doesn’t mean you have to give a presentation tomorrow but begin by setting a time to practice your last presentation in front of the mirror. Most importantly, make sure that you have fun!