Having to speak in front of a group of people can be daunting. Even the most experienced speakers will get sometimes get nervous. It is important to know that you’re not alone. Speaking in public is very common on the list of things we’re afraid of. It is estimated that 75% of people are worried about public speaking. Even though this may be comforting it does not help you when it comes to your job. You need to find a way to get over presentation nerves and to become more comfortable when talking or presenting.
We have put together our top 5 tips that will help you ease the stress of having to attend and speak in meetings.
1. Prepare to get over presentation nerves
You might have heard the saying “Prior proper planning prevents poor performance”. This is true for most situations in life. If you’re planning what you’re going to say ahead of time you are more likely to be less nervous about the whole thing. Don’t try to wing it. Especially if you have to present facts and figures, write them down. Nobody will mind if you read from notes. Even go as far as visualising the scenario in detail, in a positive way,
2. Arrive early
This might seem counterintuitive. But think about it. If you walk into a meeting at the last minute, you are presented with a room full of people, probably all waiting for you. On the other hand, if you arrive early, you will be first or second to arrive. and you will meet people one by one as they arrive. This is much easier to deal with, if you’re anxious in groups.
Arriving early also gives you the opportunity to talk to people one to one before the meeting, getting to know them a little better. So, when it comes to the actual meeting, there’ll be more “friendly faces” in the room.
When we get anxious we can forget to breathe, or our breaths become very shallow. This causes our muscles to tighten and we get even more nervous. Take a few deeps breaths, get oxygen to your brain and relax those muscles.
You will then also find it easier to speak more slowly, which in turn will help you to stay calmer and help you get over presentation nerves.
4. Change your mindset
It’s not all about you. People do not come to a meeting to hear and see you. They are there for their own benefit, to share knowledge and learn what others have to say. Changing your mindset from how you come across to providing a benefit to others, will help you to shift the focus away from your anxiety.
5. Think positive
Stop thinking about what could go wrong. Think about the information and how you are going to present the it instead. This will take the focus away from your worries about the meeting but will help you to prepare a better presentation (see step 1).
There are many techniques you can use to get over presentation nerves, such as acupuncture, mindfulness, hypnotherapy and many more. Here at Work Well Practice we help companies and their employees reduce work related stress by providing affordable alternative health care and encourage people to take responsibility for their own health.
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Disclaimer: As with most practices, mindfulness may not be suitable for everyone. If you have any existing mental health conditions or past trauma, you should discuss these with your GP or mental health professional and these should also be disclosed prior to enrolling in a class.