Thumb img 5666 2 Gorana Blagus Wednesday, June 1, 2016

You know that awful feeling – your legs are shaking, your voice is trembling and your hands are sweaty – yeap, the minutes separate you from the public speech and the stage fright just kicked in. Don't worry, there's solution to every problem, and we will help you with this one!

People mostly think that, in order to improve their presentation skills or overcome the stage fright, they have to do some major shifts that will turn them into speakers Lever Pro – so wrong.

You might not believe it at first, but there are just a few little tricks concerning preparations and the attitude you will take during your presentation, that can make a big difference! In this blog post, I will tell you about 5 things that have worked quite good for me. Prepare to win over stage fright!

Loosen up! No, really - loosen up! :)

When it comes to public speaking, we always feel like we have to do it „right“, but there is NO „the right“ way. It's not like dancing, singing, or acting performance where, if you don't hit the right line, note or move, the audience will notice it. Whatever happens, you can always change and adapt your speech to circumstances. Fortunately, no-one can read your mind and know if you've missed something you wanted to say or said it differently than you planned. So take a deep breath and loosen up! If you forget a line, move to the next with a smile and no one will ever know!

Loosen up

Don't hide the elephant in the room!

According to the Chapman University, Survey on American Fears in 2014, the fear of public speaking was among top 5 fears in America at that time, and it still rates very high. Many people experience anxiety when it comes to speaking in public and that is OK. It means that you care about the thing you're going to do. But here's the trick -  instead of trying to suppress it, you need to accept and acknowledge it. You can start by simply telling yourself: OK, I'm being nervous right now – so what? By acknowledging it, you are making the first step towards dealing with it and you can find a solution that works for you – some people tend to do some physical activity to realise stress, some choose to meditate, some need to be alone for a while – there're many options, you just have to find the right one for you. In the end, the worst scenarios that run through our mind never happen and it is scientifically proven that stress releases additional energy into our body, so anxiety can give us a positive boost if we direct it right, and we can do that only if we admit that it is here.

Catch your audience's eye!

It may sound like a cliché, but clichés are „clichés“ because they are truths mentioned many times. Your presentation or speech has one main purpose – to pass a certain amount of knowledge or experience to your audience and therefore, you need their attention, but you will get it only if they are comfortable with what you're talking about and how you're doing it. I know that the moment you step in front of many people who stare at you may seem scary, but keep in mind that they are just like you – with their lives, problems, everyday activities and obligations. If you are wondering how to get their attention – ask yourself – what would catch your attention? Do you like to laugh and friendly environment? Do you like high-quality visuals or do you like old school approach better? Try the approach that would work for you in the given situation and test it - except the fact that people love authenticity, you will learn a lot about what works and what doesn't. You can find many icebreaker activities and games on the Internet, you can crack a joke (but be cautious concerning political correctness) and make them laugh, you can start with questions…. The key is not present the facts to your audience – connect with them, don't be scared to look them in the eyes, speak like you are telling a story. And telling a story will certainly lead you to…

Audience attention

Involve your audience!

Understand your public SPEECH as a conversation – tell your audience a story (as I already mentioned) and let them tell you theirs. Ask them questions, but don't consider it just as Q&A part that you have to do. Think of it as a dialogue you experience daily. Which you do! You can even form your presentation like you're answering the questions, so you will make your presentation dialogic by nature. And one more thing – do not be afraid to get questions from your audience! See it as the opportunity to tell something more about the topic, to include something that you maybe forgot or just to present yourself better, not as a problem that scares the hell out of you!

How to present yourself through (Body) Language?

At the beginning, we tend to neglect the language we use during our public presentation, as well as our body language. I have learned that it is better to use conversational language, unless the situation is very formal. Fancy words and terms you've read in books sound too distant and people don't like it. Also, your posture can suggest your attitude towards the audience, so be careful. Don't stand too far from them – get close. Greet them with a smile, use your hands if you're showing something. If you don't feel confident – stand in a wider stance. It will make you feel more steadily and in control. Use your body to express the things you want to say. :)  

I hope these pieces of advice can help you deal with your public presentations more efficiently in the future. Like anything else, you can hone your presentation skills if you work on them and you can only do that by practicing and putting yourself out there! :) So keep in mind that we are all humans, who sometimes make mistakes, be authentic, don’t focus on what can happen and try to stay in the present moment. Make the anxiety your friend and don’t forget that life is never that serious as we think! :)

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