A professional setting calls for a professional approach. During vital investment presentations, you don’t want to seem nervous and fidgety, nor do you want to appear hyper and overbearing. Anxiety ruins your integrity as a presenter, as an uncontrolled wave of emotion could end up expressing the wrong message. What you need is a cool and calm approach that doesn’t get in the way of what you’re trying to say.
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Here are three tips to get you up to the task:
1. Empty Your Mind
You don’t want to be overtaken by your fears and anxieties. You also don’t want to be distracted by your overenthusiasm and excitement. To find a calm middle ground, empty your mind of present thoughts. Imagine an image from nature. Think of the quietly rushing water of a babbling brook or the wind blowing through a field. Imagine a loved one voicing encouragement.
It doesn’t matter which image you use to relax yourself, whether it’s specific or general. What’s important is that you do this well before your presentation. Practice clearing your mind and imagining relaxing thoughts repeatedly so that you’re ready to use these techniques when you need them.
2. Inhale, Exhale
Don’t forget to breathe. Sounds easy, right? Without even thinking about it, our body already does the breathing for us. However, steady breathing is harder to do when your body is stressing out.
Fortunately, some oxygen can help calm you down, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your emotions or by a bout of the presentation jitters. Similar to when you’re in life-threatening danger, your body releases stress chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline, which increase your heart rate and blood pressure.
They may have helped our more primitive ancestors in outrunning predators, but they inadvertently make modern public speaking harder, increasing your chances of committing mistakes. Controlled breathing, among many things, optimizes your oxygen intake, making it easier for you to focus and think clearly. When you’re feeling nervous or anxious, just take one long breath, stomach out, and you’ll be fine.
3. Move Around
Motion changes your emotion. It’s not just some rhyme – it actually works. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities as a speaker, shift your stance or take a few steps in any direction. Making movements changes your perspective, helping you transition to a different state of mind.
If you’re frequently stiffening up due to nervousness, loosen your body up with some stretching exercises before a pitch, and move around during your pitch. Being mobile also allows you to better convey your message. In addition, effective use of body language communicates to your audience and to your subconscious self that you’re in control.
There are opportunities for you to let your emotions loose and be yourself. However, going overboard will make you look unprofessional and put a dent in your credibility. It can also confuse your audience into remembering your emotion instead of your core message. Freezing with nervousness will make you look even worse.
Don’t be hard on yourself if you find it difficult to present in front of an audience. Some nervousness is normal for important business presentations, but don’t be completely overcome with anxiety.
Instead of panicking even more, relax. Clear your mind of any present thoughts. The less you focus on worrisome possibilities, the more you can focus on actually getting your message across. Don’t forget to take deep breaths to optimize your oxygen intake and calm yourself down.
Lastly, move around, but don’t overdo it. Getting yourself in motion gives you a different perspective on things. Be cool, calm, and collected to ace your pitch and wow your listeners.
Featured Image: “Relaxing in Maldives” by Nattu on flickr.com