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Overcoming Nerves When Giving a Presentation

Giving a presentation doesn’t always come naturally, especially when standing in front of a crowd isn’t your forte. It’s a skill that takes time to learn and perform just like singing or acting.
As much as you practice, though, one thing can derail you: stage fright. It’s a whole different experience when you’re rehearsing in a confined and controlled environment compared to when standing in front of a crowd.
Fear is inevitable. It is the usual initial feeling people have when they’re aware that something bad can happen. However, most find themselves harboring and being crippled by that possibility for a long time. Ever heard of Murphy’s Law?
You don’t have to experience the same fate. As long as you know how to avoid or fight it—and improve despite of and because of it—you won’t ever have to deal with bothersome stage frights. 

Getting Rid of Presentation Stage Fright in Two Simple Ways | Frighting on stage

Finding a Cure to Presentation Anxiety

Fighting off anxiety can be challenging. You never know when it will come and attack you. When it affects you, you feel weak, not knowing when it will go away. But fear isn’t a physical barrier. In fact, it‘s all in your head. You created it, and you can eliminate it.
Anxiety occurs when you anticipate a bad event. It’s normal to feel anxious when you’re in a stressful situation. And it grows when you keep believing it’s true. The only way to destroy it is by understanding that it’s all in your mind and becoming proactive on it.
Ask yourself the following questions: “What am I being anxious about?” “Where did it come from?” “Is now the time to think about it?” “Will it help me deliver my presentation?” Rationalizing points out the weight of your problem and its urgency. Breaking down your worries and your responsibilities helps you decide how to move along on your work. Instead of entertaining that fear, rehearse your pitch in your head. Your anxiety will be addressed by focusing on the task at hand. Stay on track and don’t let your mind wander off. Mentally pushing the nuisance to the far end of the room will make it leave. 

Getting Rid of Presentation Stage Fright in Two Simple Ways | Relax

Preventing Stage Fright Successfully

There are many reasons why presenters experience anxiety before and during a presentation. Apart from anticipating a faulty performance, procrastination, laziness, and carelessness are the other elements that trigger it. . Sometimes, the reason why you anticipate mistakes is because you know they are consequences of something you did wrong in the past. Maybe there’s a gap in your presentation that you deliberately neglected or maybe you can’t help but think about the practices you should have not missed. These simple yet reoccurring things can make you feel anxious on your big presentation day.
Crafting a great presentation takes much research and preparation. Being able to come up with great research takes a lot of effort and time. And on top of all that hard work, it also takes a lot of practice to make sure you feel ready to present your deck.
When you care to invest that much to prepare your pitch, consequences that make you anxious won’t get in the way. Instead, you gain confidence and feel empowered enough to present your pitch with your head held high. 

Getting Rid of Presentation Stage Fright in Two Simple Ways

Prepare, Present, and Prosper.

There’s no way of telling what’s going to happen next. Why waste time being fearful of outcomes you’re not even sure will happen? If you place fear in the present, you’ll see that it has no business being there. Your presentation should be the only thing on your mind when you walk onstage. The dialogue between you and your audience is your priority. Focus so that nothing can change the way you planned to deliver your pitch.
Remember that prevention is better than cure. Make time to prepare your deck and rehearse your performance. Learn how to present your deck better than the last time. Nobody becomes a public speaking expert overnight. Plan your slides carefully and practice your lines.
Lastly, don’t fear judgement or fill your mind with worry. You have the power to stop self-sabotaging thoughts. 

Resources:

Bellamy, Wallace J. “Fear… It’s All in Your Head.” DrBellamyDMD.com. July 12, 2016. www.drbellamydmd.com/patient-education/fear-its-all-in-your-head
Esposito, Janet. “Conquering Stage Fright.” Anxiety and Depression Society of America. n.d. www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder/treatment/conquering-stage-fright
Maina, Antony. “16 Ways to Overcome Stage Fright When Speaking in Public.” Small Business Trends. October 6, 2015. www.smallbiztrends.com/2015/10/overcome-stage-fright-speaking-in-public.html
Purtill, Corinne. “Murphy’s Law Is Totally Misunderstood and Is in Fact a Call to Excellence.” Quartz. May 16, 2017. www.qz.com/984181/murphys-law-is-totally-misunderstood-and-is-in-fact-a-call-to-excellence
Reynolds, Garr. “Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery,” 2nd ed. Berkeley, CA: New Riders. 2012.
“Managing Presentation Nerves: Coping with the Fear Within.” Mind Tools. n.d. www.mindtools.com/pages/article/PresentationNerves.htm

Public Speaking Fear: Getting Rid of It in a Jiffy

Let’s face it: public speaking is frightening. Even the best speakers experience jitters before they go onstage. They just hide it really, really well—or they’re so used to stage fright that it’s no longer an issue after their warmup exercises.

Audience members pick up on signs of discomfort when you as a speaker have a hard time onstage: excessive sweating, stuttering, shortness of breath, etc. When they do, you become more conscious about what you’re doing, and the anxiety starts to build up. Does that mean you’re not ready? Possibly.

There’s no denying that some people, to no fault of their own, have a hard time dealing with high-stress situations—and you can bet that giving a speech in front of a crowd is stressful. Imagine the scenario: You’re minutes away from being called onstage. Your presentation is ready, perhaps designed by a PowerPoint design agency. The lights focus on your spot. But backstage, butterflies are abuzz in your stomach; your knees are shaking, and your palms are sweaty. You feel a bit lightheaded. Dizzy even.

These are uncontrollable responses to nervousness. While completely natural, especially in the context of public speaking, they’re still something that faze lots of people—80 percent of the US population, in fact. However, there are people easily debilitated by the mere thought of speaking in public. Those who suffer from a specific social anxiety disorder, glossophobia, feel nauseous and are prone to having panic attacks, which is why they try to stay away from doing it as much as possible.

For those who need to speak in public, though, how do you deal with stage fright? The ways to do it vary from person to person since each individual handles stress differently. Check this infographic to learn a few tricks to calm down and nail that speech.

Resources:

Hagen-Rochester, Susan. “Got Public Speaking Jitters? Experts Say Embrace the Fear.” Futurity. April 8, 2013. www.futurity.org/got-public-speaking-jitters-experts-say-embrace-the-fear

McClafferty, Alex. “12 ‘Fear of Public Speaking’ Symptoms and How to Beat Them.” Forbes. January 12, 2015. www.forbes.com/sites/alexmcclafferty/2015/01/12/fear-of-public-speaking/#b4fe7fd37a0c

Morgan, Nick. “Why We Fear Public Speaking and How to Overcome It.” Forbes. March 30, 2011. www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorgan/2011/03/30/why-we-fear-public-speaking-and-how-to-overcome-it/#4848c54fea43

Jamieson, Jeremy P., Matthew K. Nock, and Wendy Berry Mendes. “Changing the Conceptualization of Stress in Social Anxiety Disorder: Affective and Physiological Consequences.” Clinical Psychological Science. 2013. journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2167702613482119

A Guide to Tackling Stage Fright

In a corporate or professional presentation, there’s rarely a shortage of pressure to impress. We usually only have one shot with a client or investor, so it’s important to always make it count. Often heightened by this pressure not to choke, many experience serious stage fright when a presentation looms in the near future.

Shockingly, some people prefer this to public speaking.
Shockingly, some people prefer this to public speaking.

Most of us experience at least some sort of nervousness when speaking in public. While this can range from just mild discomfort to full-on panic, it’s an extremely common phenomenon. In fact, a recent study gave people the option between a mild electroshock and giving a short speech, and most people chose electrocution!

The adrenaline we experience prior to a presentation can be a distraction or a tool to help you focus; it’s all a matter of embracing it correctly. Here are a few tips to help channel your heightened anticipation in a positive way.

Maintain a Positive Outlook

It’s often instinctual to begin running through every possible awful thing that could go wrong during a speech when we become anxious about it. Getting stuck in a negative cycle of thought doesn’t do anyone any good, and if anything, over thinking these problems increases their chance of actually occurring.

Instead of sitting and brooding over what might go wrong, channel your energy toward something positive. When you feel yourself becoming anxious about a future presentation, address it in a constructive way. Run through your speech aloud or in your head, go through and edit your PowerPoint, or rethink your talking points. This will not only improve your speech, but this will also help provide you with a healthy distraction.

 

A Healthy Body and Mind are Key

Previously, we wrote about controlling one’s physiology for a presentation, which cannot be overstressed, especially when stage fright is a factor. Leading up to the presentation, avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol as much as possible.

Going for a run or taking a yoga class can help your body process stress much more effectively, which can help in alleviating the physical symptoms of stage fright.

Meditation can be a practical tool in relaxing and managing stress.
Meditation can be a practical tool in relaxing and managing stress.

Care for your mental health should be just as important. Deep breathing exercises are a great way to calm yourself down leading up a speech. Other alternatives are taking long walks or practicing meditation. Don’t underestimate these types of exercises when you encounter stressful situations.

Keep Your Focus on the Audience

Overcoming stage fright won’t be fixed overnight. Even if you do your best to follow the tips listed above, you may still be overwrought with nerves when it comes to show time. Here, it’s important to reinforce why you’re giving the speech: to present something of value to the audience. Try to put your focus on the message you’ll convey rather than being terrified about having to convey a message.

Most importantly, don’t shy away from fear of presenting. The more you practice and embrace speaking opportunities, the better and more comfortable you’ll be doing so.

What is a PowerPoint Karaoke?

When we talk about PowerPoint Karaoke, or Battle Decks, we are referring to a new form of Karaoke where people don’t just sing songs. It is based on a PowerPoint presentation, projected on a screen to a group of participants. The images are totally random and it sometimes doesn’t make any sense.

Participants will have to explain what appears on the screen, even if it’s absurd. The objective of this game is not just hanging out, it’s a simple and funny way to improve our rhetorical skills and use it in our own PowerPoint works.  This helps you to avoid the problem of making boring presentations, where people just read what appears on the screen without explaining any ideas or important concepts of what they’re talking about.

It also can be used as an exercise for actors who need to improve their improvisational skills. It also helps you to lose stage fright.

This curious game was presented at a Berlin conference named Zentralle Intelligenz Agentur in 2006, and supposed a total success. Nowadays, it is used in a lot of group dynamics, companies and camps.