Nervous before a presentation? Here’s some practical advice to help you work through and overcome those nerves

Nervous and in a panic before presenting? Then pin point exactly what’s causing the nerves. You may have several concerns but you need to focus on one thing at a time, or you’ll become overwhelmed.

Identify each element you are nervous about, here are some common fears:
  • Forgetting what to say or your mind just going blank
  • Technology not working
  • Being unable to answer questions from the audience
  • Worried about looking stupid

To overcome all these, the solution is to prepare properly. Rehearse the presentation, record it on your phone, watch it back, record it again. Get to grips with the technology, have a dry run before the presentation. Prepare for questions and have a plan for dealing with any tricky ones. If your worry is just looking stupid, then practice, practice, practice!

You’ll be much more confident knowing that you have done all you can to prepare, enabling you to deliver the best presentation you can.

Maybe your concerns are more to do with how your nerves manifest:
  • Hands shaking
  • Dry throat or coughing
  • Speaking to quickly and getting out of breath

By identifying how your nerves show, you can take practical steps to deal with, or hide them.

If you have shaky hands, avoid holding anything that enhances the shaking, use a cue card instead of a sheet of paper. A dry throat or cough is a symptom of nerves, make sure you have plenty of water and if your hands shake too – drink from a bottle. Another tip for a dry throat if water is not to hand is to bite your tongue, this will make you salivate.

If you speak too quickly in a rush to get it over with, pause and take a breath, make sure you are in the moment and not yearning for the end, it’ll help you gain some control and carry on at a natural pace. Just before the presentation try breathing in for 3, holding for 3 and breathing out for 3, do this 3 times, it will help the body calm itself naturally.

By breaking the worries down its easier to deal with each one, avoiding an overwhelming dread of the presentation! At this point before presenting, you’ve done the hard work! You know the subject and have written and prepared the presentation. Now, do your work justice and deliver it well.