A big presentation can bring out the scared child in all of us. It is an unpleasant image—rows of eyes staring at us, a large, hot screen immediately to the left, and the idea of being asked a question you have no idea how to answer. No wonder many of us are left with shaking knees, a dry mouth, and nightmares about losing all our clothes mid-speech.
Fortunately, there are a number of techniques which can help you overcome these nerves and perform well even under pressure. Time to grab some slide templates from Graphic Panda, stand up, and give it your best!
Meditation and Visualization
Once the preserve of hippies, meditation and visualization are increasingly popular techniques in the world of business. They do not require any complicated equipment or lessons, just the ability to find a quiet space and focus.
The simplest meditation involves finding a space where you can be by yourself for a few minutes, closing your eyes to help you concentrate, and focusing on your breathing. At first, notice the way your breath feels and sounds. Do not make any attempt to change anything. Just spend a few seconds noticing and becoming aware of your breathing.
Once you are comfortable and relaxed, try inhaling for four counts, holding for two, and exhaling for five. Repeating this a few times will help you to feel calm and focused, and is a great technique to try just before you need to give a presentation, or any time you are feeling anxious. Controlling and managing your breath helps you to feel more grounded and in the moment, and can be an excellent technique for battling those last-minute nerves.
Visualization is also a great way to prepare for an important event. We are all aware of the importance of practicing big speeches, but visualization helps you actually imagine how they will go.
Start by closing your eyes and imagining yourself on stage or at the podium. See your presentation going well, with you appearing confident, articulate, and totally in control. You can even visualize yourself expertly answering even tricky questions at the end, and picture the whole event running totally smoothly and as planned.
This mental practice helps boost your confidence and almost acts as an internal dress rehearsal. It can also be an opportunity to consider the things you are nervous about and decide in advance how you will rectify them. Are you worried that technology will fail? Plan to get there in plenty of time and run through your slides in advance. Worried you will forget the words? Prepare some cue cards to help you jog your memory if you go totally blank. What if someone asks a question you can’t answer? Be honest. Say that it is a good question and not your area of expertise. You can even offer to find out and get back to them in an email or later meeting. By being totally prepared for whatever you fear, you will be able to tackle the presentation with confidence.