Public speaking often tops people’s list of fears. But in most cases, the audience actually wants to hear what you have to say and as a consequence will be supportive and ‘rooting’ for you. After all most will be pleased that it’s you and not them presenting!
It is important to recognise that while you may experience a churning stomach, racing heartbeat or clammy palms, these are natural feelings and are far less visible to the audience. You won’t look as bad as you feel.
However to help counter these feelings try the following:
- To slow your heartbeat and calm yourself down use the 4 4 4 2 breathing technique. Breathe in and count to 4, hold your breath and count to 4, breathe out and count to 4 and hold it for a count of 2. Repeat 4/5 times.
- Prior to the presentation, relax and envisage how well it will go. Tell yourself that you are going to be fine, you are passionate about the topic and will speak clearly and the audience wants to hear what you have to say.
- While it is important to rehearse don’t learn your speech verbatim. Instead make sure you know the key points you wish to make and link them together to build your story. Learning it verbatim will simply add to your stress levels because you will worry about fluffing your lines.
- Finally remember, you are the only person in the room who knows what you are going to say which means that no one will ever know if you forget something!