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For some people even the thought of giving a presentation of any kind causes butterflies in their stomach or make them want to run and hide. The art of public speaking doesn’t come easily to everyone. If you have this fear, don’t worry. You’re not alone. In fact, it’s very common to feel this way. A lot of people absolutely hate having to present, and are afraid of standing in front of an audience to speak. The potential for failure in front of colleagues or because of bad past experiences makes most people very nervous.

There are some simple strategies you can apply before you start to speak to help control the nerves and make you feel more relaxed.

1. Preparation

Planning the presentation should always be done before you actually deliver the presentation. This is a very important area and it is also one that many people need the most improvement in. You need to know your material. This is more than just memorizing it. Of course, memory is important, but it’s only one aspect.

Knowing your audience is just as important. The more you know your audience, the more you can understand them. You’ll know what their preconceptions might be, and prepare your presentation to meet them. Knowing the purpose of the presentation is important.

Then you begin to brainstorm. What you do here is to write down everything you are actually going to say. Then, put the information you want to give your audience in a logical sequence. Your presentation should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

2. Practice

Another way to overcome this fear, is practice and rehearse your speech at home or anywhere you can be at ease and comfortable. Practicing in front of a mirror, friends, colleagues or family can give you confidence. Record or video yourself and listen to yourself. It will help you to see where you go off track. The more comfortable you become with the speech itself, the more confident you’ll be presenting it.

3. Breathing Techniques

Relaxation is the key. Most people don’t know it, but breathing techniques date back thousands of years. You’ve probably heard of meditation, well, breathing is central to meditation.

Controlled breathing can actually reduce your blood pressure. There are several devices on the market that helps you reduce your blood pressure by helping you to breathe in a deep, controlled way. Research breathing exercises and you’ll find it is a very powerful, yet simple tool to reduce stress, calm those nerves, and feel more in control.

Practice taking in a few slow, deep breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. Make that out breath as long as possible without forcing it. You can increase things as you go, but don’t do it too often at first. It can cause you to feel lightheaded.

Start by taking a few deep breaths before your presentation, and it will make a difference. It can help control your nervous energy and to calm you down before you start speaking.

Now that you’re prepared, you’ve practiced and confident with the material, and are completely relaxed, you’re ready to put your presentation skills to work. You might not get it right the first time, but with practice, you’ll be able to go out and WOW your audience in no time.

 


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