Overcome butterflies in the stomach

You are well prepared, you have a great presentation deck, and you are even impeccably dressed! But the butterflies let you down, leading to memory loss of what had been meticulously prepared, difficulty in engaging with the audience and sweating and shivering that is embarrassingly visible! Sounds familiar?

As Mark Twain said, “There are two types of speakers: Those who get nervous and those who are liars.” So the trick lies in overcoming your fear of public speaking! Here’s what you could do:

1. Ensure your anxiety levels are under control and avoid upsetting your stomach before the presentation. Eat a light meal, wash your face, use the washroom and drink a cold glass of water.
2. Reach a few minutes early and make sure everything you need is in place.
3. Clear your throat, make small talk, ensure your voice is well modulated.
4. Take a few deep breaths. Think of something or someone that makes you happy.
5. Behave normally, your relaxed countenance itself will project you as a confident speaker.
6. In your mind, stay focused on the presentation content, not audience perception and feedback. They do not know what you have planned to speak. If you missed some point, they can’t say.
7. Put off last minute rehearsals and running over difficult questions in your head.
8. Remember your opening sentences. As you start speaking and engage with the audience, you will quickly go with the flow.
9. Reassure yourself, after all; you know your subject better.
Enjoy speaking, stand tall and smile, start your presentation and get going. If you are nervous,  say so. The audience will understand!

– By Vijayalakshmi Rao for Zeus


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