7 SUREFIRE TIPS TO AVOID PRESENTATION ANXIETY
Presenting in front of an audience can bring butterflies to your stomach. It is not easy for everyone to face the audience and present something flawless and not everyone can prepare themselves to this task. There is fear, anxiety, worries of failure, loss of words, lack of connect, issues with the content, un-attentive audience and lot more which can go wrong in a presentation. Many are even skeptical from the start if they will be able to pull it off, and many might run into errors during a presentation. All the initial apprehensions can also cause anxiety during the presentation, which might affect the quality of your delivery.
But, since presentation is an essential tool in the professional ecosystem, and anyone may need it anytime, it is always better to be prepared for any situation. As a presenter, you need to overcome the presentation anxieties and confidently approach the task. Every presentation, every audience, and every situation might be different, but avoiding your common fears and apprehensions is important, so that you can suit yourself to any situation.
Here are 7 surefire tips to avoid presentation anxiety, which will help you through any situation:
Practice as much as possible: Practice makes a man perfect, and it truly applies to anyone when it comes to presentation. The more you practice, the more you will be able to detect the flaws and correct them beforehand. It can be related to the content or your delivery or any technical aspect. This also helps you to practice your tone, voice modulations, and everything related to your presentation. And, gradually you will be able to overcome the inhibitions.
Divert your nervousness: You can divert your nervousness to something more helpful. Like you can play a video to explain a point, or start with a story of your life. Think of ways to get comfortable with the audience. Certain breathing techniques also help to ease tension if you are nervous. However, do not let your nervousness show on your face, rather look confident and smile.
Research your audience beforehand: It is best to know your audience beforehand and you can use a questionnaire to collect basic information. Once you analyze the data, you will be able to know the age group or diversity of the audience in front of you. This way you can prepare in a better way. If that is not an option, you can have a 5 to 10 minute introductory session, where get to know each on the job. This makes both of you comfortable and helps to ease your stress a lot.
Do not memorize: It is better to prepare the content, but not to memorize the same. Memorizing makes it specific, so you tend to remember what you are prepared, leaving no space for improvisation. Then, you falter and get stuck. Take the main concepts or ideas and prepare it using your own words. Use certain non-textual aids to make people understand like activities or role plays, so that you do not have to remember everything textual.
Prepare for worst case conditions: Know what can be your worst case scenarios and prepare a contingency plan. It can be anything from technical glitches to personal adversities. So, knowing about it will help you prepare for any unexpected turns. Keep your “Plan B” ready so that any failure does not affect the flow of the presentation.
Pause and Take your time: Time is a very important factor in a presentation. Either you have less time or you have more. So, utilize your time effectively. Do not rush into things due to lack of time, rather take necessary pauses and choose lesser topics. This helps to ease in between and also recapitulate your preparations. If you have enough time, space things properly. Give the audience breaks and plan engaging activities or role plays.
Engage your audience: Engage the audience and set their expectations right from the start. Ask them about what they want to achieve by the end of the presentation, or ask them to introduce themselves with a quote. Ask questions in between or use fun exercises. You can also utilize the time to prepare yourself if you feel you are missing something.
It is very important for you to understand the real takeaway of the audience from your presentation. If you are able to convey your message properly, then half of your work is done. So, make sure you do not put in too many concepts or ideas else audience tends to get confused. Talk about different things, but come down to two or three major ideas that you want the audience to remember.
And, always remember your first impression is mostly the last one. So, prepare well for the start, set the right expectations, establish a connect, and you will definitely be able to sail through smoothly for the rest of the job.