The US comedian, Jerry Seinfeld made a joke about public speaking anxiety.
“I read a thing that actually says that speaking in front of a crowd is considered the number one fear of the average person. I found that amazing – number two was death! That means to the average person if you have to be at a funeral, you would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
For millions, public speaking is a paralyzer that holds them back from achieving their dreams and goals. But once you conquer it, you can be viewed as a leader, increase your exposure, gain confidence and reduce competition.
After all, presenting is just a sport that needs training. It’s not a supernatural skill granted to only a chosen few. The more you practice, the better you get and the more you enjoy your time on the stage.
However, besides practising relentlessly, you need to “stretch” out and set your mind into the right mood right before you get on stage. So here are the tips on how to do the last minute warm up and get your mind into the unbeatable mood.
1. Do some exercise
You always see soccer players running there and forth, stretching their arms and legs before they replace their team players on the pitch. The same goes for speakers, exercise reduces tension and helps to concentrate. Try to walk around in the backstage, do arm circles or stretch your arms in order to get rid of excess energy and calm your nerves.
Doing physical exercise right before your presentation helps you to boost concentration and focus on your speech.
2. Warm up your voice
When you’re nervous, your voice trembles and sounds weak. To get the first words out with the same emphasis and enthusiasm as the last ones, you need to warm up your voice. Especially for short pitches, it’s absolutely crucial that your first words sound convincing and captivating to drag the audience in for the rest of your speech.
Go outside and hum, sing, or repeat the first three lines of your presentation 6-7 times to warm up your voice. It’s a little trick but works like magic.
3. Breath in… Deeply
The Prezi experts at Mr Prezident, recommend speakers to let your breathing do the talking. You get naturally stressed out before stepping in front of the crowd which makes you take shallow breaths up in your chest. While chest breathing boosts confidence and prepares you for action, the low deep breathing in the abdomen calms you down.
To get your nerves back under control, pause and take three deep breathes in your abdomen.
4. Think less and engage more
Every presentation has an introduction, a few main points (hopefully only three) and the conclusion. That’s not so much! Create a mental map with the main points that you plan to address. Everything else just serves to support these points. Having this super simple outline in your mind allows you to act more naturally and leaves more room for engagement with your audience.
Use eye contact, body language and try to look naturally as if you were having a 1 to 1 conversation.
5. Let music induce the right mood
Your voice is warmed up, you got your breath under control and you got a mental map of your speech. Finally to induce the right mood, play some music in your head that will instantly make you feel invincible the moment you step on stage.
For the inspiration, check out Nike’s list of 15 great motivational tracks but don’t feel obliged to stop there. Venture on to find the perfect track for you.
What are your tricks that help you to reduce stress before going up on stage?