Seven Tips for Coping with Pre-Stage Jitters

Whether you need to address large groups or small, familiar faces or new, you may feel that the stress of speaking is always with you. If so, these seven tips will help you work through tension and communicate with confidence.

1. Recognize that stress is natural: It helps you sort out which situations are "dangerous" and which are not. The problem occurs when presenters allow their minds to dwell on the stress rather than on the situation. They become short of breath, the brain doesn't get enough oxygen, and tension sets in. Most presenters manage to remain below the panic level -- avoiding the fight/flight syndrome -- and most survive each experience. However, there's more to life than mere survival.

2. Focus on the message. Think to yourself: "I'm here to share information" -- whether to inform, persuade, clarify, or serve some other purpose. "The participants are attending to hear what I can share with them." "They want me to do well because that's to their benefit, too."

3. Check your room before anyone arrives. Look at the seating arrangement and visualize people in the chairs. Move around the room: Become comfortable in your surroundings. Walk to the lectern, stand there. Move away to break the barrier -- as you should do periodically when presenting. All living creatures need to adjust to a new environment.

4. Practice operating your visual equipment. Dexterity improves with experience and reduces the mind's concerns. That, too, contributes to calmness.

5. Practice -- aloud -- delivering the opening and closing parts of your presentation. Then practice the middle of your presentation with your visuals. Mental rehearsal is beneficial but it can never substitute for speaking out loud. More muscles and mental processes are involved and, once again, experience contributes to a calmer mind.

6. Do some stress-burning exercises before you speak. Find your own, personal, stress points and work on those. Yours may be in the neck, shoulders, lower back, temples, or elsewhere. Clap your hands and rub them together briskly then place them on the tension spots. As you do, massage gently, stretch lightly, and think about relaxation. These actions and the mind's positive responses to your take-charge steps will also reduce stress.

7. As you walk to the front of the room, think about your message and move with confident body language. Between the two, your brain will assume that everything is okay. Breathe fully. And think only positive thoughts: "I am pleased to have this opportunity." "I am sharing important information that others will value." "This will be a good experience because I am prepared."

Stephen C. Rafe, president of Rapport Communications, Reston, VA, has been a counselor and coach in the field of behavior-based communication for more than two decades. He is the author of three books on this subject with HarperBusiness, a monograph with Communication Briefings, numerous manuals and pamphlets, and more than 100 published feature articles. His methods also appear in oothers' books. His clients have included Johnson & Johnson for the Tylenol crisis, AT&T for its divestiture, President Reagan's committee on strategic forces, and numerous heads of corporations, countries, and organizations. He teaches communications subjects at the university level and is a doctoral candidate. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

In The News:

Zotefoams Investor Presentation July 2020  DirectorsTalk Interviews
Human Trafficking Series: Child Safety Presentations  KSNF/KODE - FourStatesHomepage.com

Polishing Your Sales Presentation

Summer is here! It's time to bring out your summer... Read More

If You Want Business - Throw a Seminar!

Why is throwing a seminar good for business?If you want... Read More

35 Surefire Ways to Kill a Meeting

1. Play "find the meeting" by changing the location and... Read More

Group Meetings: Being Prepared Makes a Difference

MANAGING MEETINGS--BEING PREPARED MAKES A DIFFERENCE: You can schedule all... Read More

Leaves Your Audience Hungry For More! -- Presentations That Get Results

Regardless, if your goal is to make a sale or... Read More

How You Can Save On Conference Calling

In recent years, companies have recognized the need to expand... Read More

Plasma Screen Hire ? What Do You Need to Know for Presentations

How many people will need to see the screen? A... Read More

Just Say No to PowerPoint: Enough is Enough!

Have you ever been slideswiped? You walk into a meeting... Read More

Shamus Browns Top 5 Sales Presentation Tips

When its time to give your next sales presentation, here... Read More

Don?t Give Presentations Or Speeches - Give Leadership Talks Instead

The CEO of a worldwide business asked me to help... Read More

Improve Your Bottom Line with What You Say

When was the last time you thought about what you... Read More

Powerpoint Sales Presentations Are Boring - Stop It!

As the meeting began, the project manager of the buying... Read More

Be Bold, Branded, and Bespoke - Your Customers Want You to Choose

I had been working on a logo idea for several... Read More

How To Run Your Greatest Conference Ever

Like most good achievements, a magnificent meeting depends on planning... Read More

Developing Successful Demonstrations

SUCCESSFUL DEMONSTRATIONS: All of us have seen demonstrations in one... Read More

I Love the Smell of PowerPoint in the Morning: The 5 Sensory Approach to Business Presentations

You're in a conference room. You're giving a PowerPoint presentation... Read More

Projector Hire - Choosing the Right One for Your Presentation

Calling a projector hire company will often get you confused... Read More

10 Profitable Tips for Creating Better Sales Presentations

No matter what your business is, you will enhance your... Read More

Present Statistics In Context

"I didn't have 3000 pairs of shoes. I had only... Read More

Incorporate Humor in Your Next Speech

Some speakers say, "I could never use humor in my... Read More

Kvetching Behavior and How it Hinders Success

Kvetching is the Yiddish word for complaining, hand to the... Read More

The Who, What, Where and When of Color In Your Documents

This article will help you to assess and maximise the... Read More

Sharpening Your Presentation Skills

Regardless of the nature of our job or social standing,... Read More

Conducting Successful Training Activities

Whether you are training preschoolers in the classroom or executives... Read More

Top Ten Tips For Better Business Presentations To Asian Audiences

Audiences around the world are all different. Cultural, social and... Read More