Dealing with Presentation Anxiety
According to The Book of Lists, the number one fear of people is speaking before a group. The number seven fear is death. So if you were to say you would rather die than speak in front of a group, at least statistically, you would be in the majority! Even professional speakers often deal with anxiety before they give their presentations. Here are some of the ways they deal with it.
Be prepared. The old scouting motto is as appropriate for presenters as it is for campers. Prepare for your presentation so that you know more about your topic than you will ever use. This can help minimize your level of anxiety.
Practice. The first time you give your presentation should never be in front of an audience. Take the time to practice it by yourself, out loud, at least twice before you get up in front of a group. If you can, present it to some of your peers. You may even want to record and listen to yourself in order to improve your presentation.
Visualize success. Once you have properly prepared and practiced, be secure in knowing there is nothing more you can do to improve the talk itself. Now is the time to deal with your state of mind. Project yourself forward in time to the end of your presentation and think about how it is being accepted. Envision the audience liking what you said, understanding the points you made and wanting to implement your recommend-ations. Pre-play success.
Focus on your friends. As soon as you begin your talk, identify audience members you know are on your side. They may be friends or co-workers or even individuals you met and spoke with just before your presentation. In any case, single out audience members who are smiling and nodding. Focusing on these people will build your confidence and help alleviate the anxiety that comes with speaking in front of groups.