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3 Ways to Reduce Nerves Before a Presentation

Scared nerd hiding behind a desk

The Washington Post recently reported that public speaking is the biggest phobia of most people (25.3%).

(It also reported that 7.6% of people fear clowns, but only 7.3% fear ghosts. Zombies are much scarier for 8.9% of people)

There are only two types of speakers in the world:  1. The nervous. 2. Liars.

– Mark Twain

You can probably name several people who seemingly give perfect presentations, but in reality their palms were sweating, and they were decidedly nauseous. Darlene Price, Communications Coach, Author, and President of Well Said, Inc., at age 15, fainted in front of her classroom when faced with giving a presentation. Since that time, she’s learned a few tricks to giving successful presentations. The good news is:  There are no consequences from feeling nervous; the trick is to avoid showing it…

Here are a few quick techniques you can use before your presentation to calm your nerves and release some of the tension you’re feeling:

  1. Visualise your success. This isn’t just for sports heroes and Zen masters. You can visualise your way to success. Psychology Today reported that research shows “mental practices are almost as effective as true physical practice, and that doing both is more effective than either alone.” While you should definitely practise your presentation, you should also take time to visualise what giving a successful presentation will look like. Mentally walk through your presentation and picture yourself filled with confidence and passion, while your audience is sitting rapt with attention or responding favourably.
  2. Exercise beforehand. Try to get a workout in earlier in the day. When you get your blood pumping, you also pump endorphins through your system that relieve stress. Exercise also works to boost your confidence. And getting yourself in the groove during a good workout helps get your mind off of your upcoming presentation, which helps calm you. If you can’t fit in a workout, 15 or 20 minutes before the presentation, do some jumping jacks, stretches, squats, anything that can be done simply to raise your heart rate. Just that little bit can get your blood circulating and calm your nerves, naturally!
  3. Breathe deeply. A tried, but true axiom, taking deep breaths slowly in through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth can have a deep calming effect. What you may not realise is that you tense up when you get nervous and start taking shallow breaths, and sometimes even holding your breath. Instead, try shaking out your muscles, then take in those deep breaths to get the oxygen moving through your system and to your brain where it will help lower your heart rate and relax your body. The key to deep breathing is to use your diaphragm and not your chest. Simply place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Your stomach should expand when you’re breathing deeply instead of your chest.

These 3 techniques are simple and easy to do, and are completely natural. Nothing complex here that will induce more nervous energy. Just simple, every day actions on your part that will reap huge benefits, both professionally and personally. That’s a win-win any way you look at it.

Natural Training provide training solutions that are designed to work with your own natural style of presenting to create a comfortable, easy method that will let your own passion and energy shine in every presentation. Call one of our experts today to see how we can help you.

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