I am a timid person. When it comes to public speaking I am terrified. A fear I have is that I will royally mess up, the audience will think I am stupid then I’ll be forever thought of as the village idiot ( ͒˃̩̩⌂˂̩̩ ͒). I recently had to do a presentation, and I didn’t die from it so I thought I would share with you the ways that I survived.
I know, “I’ve heard this all before”. BUT, how else will the words gracefully flow out of your mouth when you don’t even know what to say in front of the mirror. SO, practice. What helped me is that I was able to practice in the room where the actual presentation was. There are other ways to practice too. You could try:
- In front of the mirror (That’s right. Look yourself right in the eye balls)
- By yourself in your room
- In front of a small group of 2-3
- In front of your dog and his favorite stuffed animals (Which I personally like the most, it’s the rudest audience you can get and makes you tougher)
2. Know your stuff
This helps to combat the fear that I will come off as stupid or uneducated. If I know what I am talking about that will also be obvious to the audience.
3. You are the only expert on that topic, seriously.
If the second tip doesn’t help you maybe this one will. This was one I never thought of, but when I asked people for advice almost everyone said this one tip. When you get up to present the audience doesn’t know what you are going to say. They often won’t know you messed up unless you let them know you did. When you present that information, the only person in the room that knows everything is you, the audience doesn’t. That’s why they are the ones listening and not presenting. So even if you think you don’t know everything, you’re still miles ahead of your audience.
4. DON’T LOOK THEM IN THE EYES
When I look someone in the eyes I end up trying to gauge how attentive they are, what they are thinking about, if they are thinking about how suckish this presentation is . . . you get the point. When I do this I literally psych myself out and instead of focusing on what I was supposed to say I start to focus on that one person’s mind.
So treat the audience like medusa and look above their heads. Also, make sure that when you do turn to the audience that you include everyone in your field of view instead of just looking at one section of the room. Inclusion FTW.
Take your time speaking. It is such an uncomfortable feeling to be at the end of your sentence and you want to just topple over because your lungs have turned into deflated sacks. Breathing I find also helps with keeping my heart in check as well so it doesn’t turn into a night club in my chest.
These are the tips that helped me the most. Take what you will, or don’t. It’s not like I wanted to help (sarcasm). In all seriousness though, I know presentations are tough and they are extremely difficult. So do your best!
One last thing, another tip many people mentioned to me was that I should be more confident. What I found funny is that that statement did the complete opposite to me, I felt like I would fall back to square one. Confidence isn’t something that I can just find and then add to my current stash. I personally don’t think confidence grows over night, but doing the things that I listed above helped me to meet my confidence where it was at and then build upon it. So my tip is that you will become more confident as time progresses.