Can you relate to the following? Your boss asks you to prepare a presentation for Monday. You agree (what else can you say right?) but inside your stomach is turning. All you can think of now is that presentation…
You are definitely not alone! Many people get nervous by the thought of doing a presentation. Public speaking is high on the list of “things we only do once we’re pushed”. While presenting can cause a little tension, it surely doesn’t have to be scary. Down the road, you might discover actually that public speaking can be fun. This article is written with the aim of helping you turn your fears into confidence.
1. It’s not about you!
Once we have to do a presentation, we often think: “what will others think of me?” Here’s a thought: It’s not about you. The main objective of any presentation is to deliver a message to an audience. It’s not you they’re coming to see, the message is most likely not about you. You are just there to deliver that message to your audience. You are simply there to teach others something.
Ask yourself: “What do these people want to know? What are their needs? How can I help them? What’s the most important for others to know?” These questions will help you to deliver your message, because that’s the core of every presentation. And, quite as important, it helps you shift the thought from it being about you to it being about your audience.
2. You are the expert!
We often think: “Well, but I don’t know it all. Am I the right person to deliver this presentation?” Of course you are the one that should do the presentation! Otherwise your boss would have asked someone else, right? You don’t need to know everything; you just have to know slightly more than your audience. Believing you have to know everything will cause you unnecessary stress.
So don’t expect that you will have to know everything. Instead, expect that you will know enough to add value. Expect that you will know enough to make your topic interesting. Have a short brainstorm to find out how much you know about your subject. It’s probably more than you think and undoubtedly more than your audience knows. And even if they know as much as you do, it’s still important to repeat important topics.
3. Fear is human!
One of factors that are causing people stress is the thought: “I can’t be stressed”. Obviously these are the kind of thoughts that are causing more stress. Everything that you fight against will in turn only make the experience stronger. If you can manage to turn your thoughts towards “A little stress is healthy” instead of “I can’t be stressed” you will experience a totally different feeling.
Just realize you don’t have to be superhuman. Everybody experiences stress from time to time; it’s part of life. Don’t fight it, because it will only get worse. Embrace it and you will see the resistance drops and the feeling of stress diminishes.
Public Speaking Workshop
If you feel that you or anybody you know can benefit from a little help with speaking in public, then please consider our workshop High Impact Speaking, led by award-winning international speaker Olivia Schofield. You will learn that public speaking doesn’t have to be stressful, as Olivia will teach you how to channel nervous energy into focused energy and demonstrate techniques for working with your voice.