Fear is the oversized luggage you carry on the way to the meeting room. You are convinced that colleagues and senior staff will be scanning and screening you to discover your vulnerabilities, when all you want is to be recognized for your expertise, credibility and experience. The frustrating part is that you know very well how valuable you are, but the approach to the runway of the meeting room gives you motion sickness.
Nights before feel like a cramped long haul flight, sleepless, uncomfortable and oppressive. Then just at the gate, come the sweaty palms, the knotted stomach, the dry mouth, and the stammering. You hate it!
To speak with confidence you need to become the pilot, calm, professional and in control. Any fear you feel must be stored out of sight in the baggage area, to make room for confidence, credibility and impact to be seated first class beside you.
Here are 3 tips that could help you manage your fear before your presentation.
Just as for a pre-flight preparation, you need to identify all information and parameters that can potentially affect the presentation (Content clear, structured and adapted, profile of the attendees, presentation slides if any, room …), and take time to rehearse your presentation speaking out loud. This is 80% of your confidence builder.
Can you imagine what it feels like to be enjoying giving your talk? You are smiling, engaging with the attendees; even see them clap in awe at the end? Take the time to create a vivid image and save it dearly in your memory.
3. Power Pose
Higher levels of testosterone (in both men and women) lead to increased feelings of confidence. One of the physical cues that impacts this hormone is body language. Increasing the testosterone level only takes 120 seconds. Take the time to view this Ted Talks and learn about the many options to choose from when you need to raise your confidence. Your body language shapes who you are | Amy Cuddy
Once you start speaking, some of you will get in the flow immediately and enjoy a buzz of adrenalin and energy, others might still have some anxiety making them freeze and stumble over words.
What tricks can you use during your presentation then?
4. Before pronouncing your opening line
Look at the audience and ask yourself: “What do I think of them?” This question will shift the focus away from your anxiety. Giving a presentation is never about you; always keep in mind the audience’s benefits.
5. Slow down your voice
Can you remember the pace at which Martin Luther King Jr gave his “I have a dream” speech? Did he sound nervous? No. Keep that in mind, no rush, and it will give you time to breath. One stumble, no problem: breathe in, breathe out, smile and carry on.
6. Ground yourself
Keep a still and strong posture, as if you are planting your feet (even when you present seated). Have your hands in front of you or at your side when you gesture and not in a pocket or clasped together. With good posture you have a promising foundation for showing confidence and being in control of your speaking situation.
When you present, you are the pilot, in charge of the itinerary and the comfort on board. It is not easy to get rid of the load that fear represents, however if you transform fear into fuel, I guarantee your passengers will follow you to the other side of the world. Have fun flying!
PS: NEWS! Full day Bootcamp: Tackling the Fear of Public Speaking in one day
Maximum attendees: 10
Contact me for more information.