It is the final week of classes. That means that final exams are next week and class presentations are upon us. This is the time when roles switch. Students supplement class discussions with some quite impressive deliveries—informing the class on different topics, including companies’ performance, information on CEO compensation, and even how to best manage generation “Y” and get their best work. Just admit it—as you walk to the front of a room for a public presentation, every nervous tension comes along with you.
After practicing for days and building up all confidence known to man, it all begins to deflate as you approach your big moment. You want to deliver. After all, there’s a lot of work that goes into the preparation of a great presentation. Rest assured: this is normal. Here are two simple things that I have learned that will help relieve some of that nervousness:
- Stand Up: Although this may seem a bit obvious, posture is shown to increase the clarity of your voice. Here’s the trick: as you walk to the front of the room erect, take the deep breaths as you have always been told. Then, inhale one last time before you begin speaking. To avoid what I call the “shaky voice” syndrome, after you take that last breath very slowly exhale as you begin speaking. The pressure of the air will help reduce the shaking. Try it. It works.
- Speak Out: Be sure to project your voice. The important thing is that it should be natural but don’t lose control. This is your moment so just let the audience hear what you’ve practice many times. And remember that your presentation should be very similar to the flow of a normal conversation.
Now that you know what to do, practice as much as possible in front of friends and family. Don’t forget the two steps! As you walk up to give a presentation, “stand up.” And as you speak, speak out to the audience.