Anxiety is a killer.
Your presentation doesn’t stand a chance against it.
The more anxious you are about your presentation the closer to disaster you are.
You see, anxiety feeds on itself.
As your anxiety builds, you focus on what could go wrong and the anxiety gets stronger.
The anxiety snowball gains momentum until it’s intolerable.
But, there’s hope!
If you’re even the slightest bit anxious about a presentation you’ve got coming up, you can use these 3 tricks to tame your anxiety before and during your presentation.
1. Give up the need to be perfect
I know, I know. You want to remember every single line in your speech.
You want to recite your lines word-perfect, using the highest quality vocal tones.
You want to gesture at just the right times to wow your audience.
Thing is, the chance of everything being perfect is almost zero.
Something is bound to go wrong.
You’ll trip of a rogue piece of carpet. You’ll forget a line. You’ll accidentally burp as you start talking.
And the more you focus on being perfect, the more likely it is something will go wrong. Because a focus on perfection increases your anxiety.
When you give up the need to be perfect, and accept that things might not go to plan, you reduce your anxiety.
2. Accept that mistakes will happen
Mistakes can and will happen.
You can reduce your anxiety by remembering that mistakes are not bad.
Imagine you’re in a regular conversation and as you’re talk you forget something. You know, one of those moments where what you want to say is on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t find the right word.
In regular conversation mistakes happen all the time.
How do you handle it? Do you panic, freeze, go red-faced, apologize profusely to your friends? Of course not. You just laugh it off and move on.
You should handle presentation mistakes in the same way:
Just move on.
Remember that most of the time, your audience doesn’t notice your mistakes. If they do, they probably don’t care.
Accept that mistakes will happen and you’ll reduce your anxiety.
Remember: Just move on.
3. Focus on the relationship
Ask “What’s the most important part of a presentation?” and you’ll hear answers such as “well-designed slides”, “clear speech” or “confidence”.
While these things are important to varying degrees, there is one part of your presentation that is more important than all others…
…Your relationship with the audience.
Get this wrong and nothing else matters.
If you don’t have a good relationship with the audience chances are they aren’t listening to your “clear speech” or paying attention to your “well-designed slides”.
How do you get a good relationship with your audience?
Simple. Talk to them like they are human. Talk like you are human. Do the opposite of what they are used to: communicate with them.
Audiences sit through hours and hours of robotic presentations every year.
They’ve been lectured to.
They’ve seen all the bullet points.
And they’ve had all the bullet points read to them.
And they’re tired.
They’re tired of the pomp and circumstance around presentations.
They’re tired of listening to presenters who sound like they’re reading from a piece of paper.
If you treat the audience the same as you would if they were in regular conversation with you, you build the relationship with them. Build the relationship and they start to listen. Build the relationship and they become more receptive to what you are saying.
When you have a good relationship, and your audience is receptive, you reduce your anxiety (and you do a better presentation into the bargain).
What do you think? Let’s chat in the comments below…
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