Anxiety? Pressure? Fear of the Unknown?

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During the lockdown periods we were wracked by feelings of isolation, we missed our work colleagues and the general hubbub of office life.

Now many of us are going back, at least in part, to the workplace and these feelings can return all over again. We had just got used to regular Zoom meetings, Teams events and catching up on Skype when this new ‘norm’ itself got turned on its head and back we went to in-person meetings.

If you’re anxious about standing up in front of a crowd again, first of all, remember that your audience is really looking forward to hearing what you have to say. It’s been a long time since they’ve been addressed by anyone and you’re the star of the show. That’s enough to make me run a mile! I can hear you shriek! But wait a moment; you really do know what you are talking about, you love improving performance in yourself and your team and your speech is all about sharing information which will make everyone better equipped for the future.

Remember, when you feel overwhelmed with fear about public speaking, here are some top tips:

  1. Remind yourself about how capable you are
  2. Refresh your memory about the subject of your presentation – thoroughly revise the content
  3. Make notes ahead of your presentation
  4. Speak your presentation out loud – get used to hearing the words and phrases that you’ll be using on the day. Edit any challenging words or phrases that might trip you up
  5. On the day – remember to breathe before you speak; take your time and enjoy it!

Breaking down the component parts of your presentation strategy into easy chunks is half the battle to success. Remember you are the expert; now focus on making your presentation succinct, well signposted and informative.

As well as being accurate and interesting, your presentation should also be relevant. Find out what people want from your presentation and that will help you with building the right content – information that is going to be well-received and useful.

It might help you to create a mind map to get your ideas down and out of your head. If you are delivering a presentation it’s important to not only explore the topic you will be speaking about, but plan for how much time you have available and how you’re going to structure the presentation.

A first step to getting rid of anxiety is to prepare yourself thoroughly for the work in hand.

Pressure can be dissipated through giving yourself enough time to get ready. Say no to unnecessary meetings or social commitments if you still have the presentation to prepare. Allow at least an extra day more than you think necessary to allow for unknowns to crop up, work to your own deadline then you should have time to relax before the big moment.

Suffering from Fear of the Unknown? Stick to what you do know and tell your audience what to expect. When you make your presentation, set the boundaries that you are going to be using and make it clear that is the framework of your talk.

Getting ready for an important presentation or pitch can be a daunting experience, but by allowing yourself the necessary time for your preparation schedule, success will come your way.

One more point to remind you – rehearse saying your words out loud before your big moment. Get used to any long sentences that might need a bit more breath to safely take you to the end of the thought. If there are fabulous phrases that spring to mind, use them – as long as they don’t get you tongue tied. If in doubt, change the word or phrase to allow your speech to flow in an interesting and steady manner.

That’s it. Good luck with your presentation and if you think you might like a bit of help, do get in touch!