Presentation Panic? How to Calm Those Pesky Nerves Before Your Big Talk

10 Solid Tips for Staying Stoic
nervous bunny giving a talk

Are you a nervous wreck when it comes to public speaking? Do you feel like you’re about to pass out every time you’re in front of a crowd? You’re not alone, babes!

Princess Diana, the epitome of grace and poise, was once so terrified of public speaking that she was nicknamed “Shy Di”. But like the champ she was, she faced her fear head-on and worked with speaking coaches to overcome it. 

With these presentation tips, you’ll be turning heads and leaving jaws on the floor, even if you’re usually as quiet as a mouse! Let’s go 🙂

Practice, Practice, Practice 

Practice makes perfect. This is a mantra that many of us learn from our early years at school. And there’s a good reason for it. Practice is indeed a reliable method for bolstering confidence and proficiency when learning a new skill. 

If you’re feeling nervous about your presentation, it might be because you simply haven’t gone through it enough times. Once you have the words and cues figured out, one of the most useful things to do is to drill them into your brain as many times as you can muster. 

Give Your Body And Mind What It Needs 

Our physical and mental states both play a huge role in how comfortable and confident we feel. When preparing for any critical moment in life, it is absolutely necessary to check in with your body and find out what it needs. 

nervous bunny eating

Sometimes, we get so distracted by our own anxiety that we forget to eat properly, get enough sleep, or drink an adequate amount of water. When preparing for your presentation, make sure you’re eating healthily, staying well hydrated, and getting at least 7+ hours of sleep at night.  

Manage Expectations 

As unbearable as the thought might initially seem, there’s always a chance that your presentation might unfold differently than how you expect it to. When preparing for an important presentation, you can alleviate some of the pressure by staying grounded and managing your expectations. 

If the idea of public speaking intimidates you, remember that it is just one small moment in the greater story of your life, and you’ll be fine regardless of the outcome. 

Instead of pressuring yourself to perform beyond your natural capacity, allow yourself to feel some nerves and trust that your other qualities will shine through. 

Use The Power Of Visualisation

Visualisation is a powerful tool for gaining self-confidence. Through your imagination, you can overcome nervousness by visualising your presentation process in the safest environment of all—your own mind. 

bunny visualization in presenting

In your visualisation, try to imagine yourself executing the presentation exactly how you need to, and allow that scene to guide you when the real moment comes. That way, you get a free trial run with no consequences at all if things don’t go as planned. 

Prepare A Backup Plan For Mistakes 

Though it may seem counter-intuitive, preparing for the worst can sometimes make us feel better. Write down a list of anything and everything that scares you about your presentation, and determine a practical resolve for each of the potential worst-case scenarios. 

The likelihood of any of those slip-ups actually happening is small. But knowing that you have a plan in place might make you feel more prepared. That way, problems are no longer problems because you’ve already solved them. 

Watch Inspirational Speeches And Presentations

There’s nothing like a little bit of presentation inspiration to curb the nerves and stoke the fires of enthusiasm. Watching other people deliver presentations similar to your own will help you gain insight into how you should conduct yourself and behave on stage. 

bird giving a speech

By observing the timing, humour, style, and overall delivery of other presentations, you can reduce stress levels. You may even start to feel excited about your upcoming task. 

Learn Relaxation Techniques

Taking deep breaths, counting backwards from 100, or playing a few simple card games are all good ways to relax and take your mind off your nerves. If you’re feeling anxious, knowing what relaxation techniques help to calm your nerves makes it easier to focus.

If you find the techniques that help you to relax upfront, you can rely on them to calm you down before your presentation. 

Lean On Friends And Family For Support 

Your loved ones know what you’re capable of achieving, and they probably want to do anything they can to help you get there. Instead of bottling up your anxiety and letting it overwhelm you, confide your concerns in the people around you. 

Talking to your friend, partner, or parent can help to alleviate unwanted tension. Plus, it serves as a humble reminder that your value is not defined by academic achievement. 

Dress Comfortably

This is not the time to put looks above practicality. Nervousness can be distracting enough as it is, but wearing an outfit that itches or constricts your movements will be even more difficult to ignore. 

When picking your outfit for the presentation, aim for clothing that allows you to breathe freely, move with ease, and does not make you feel in any way uncomfortable. 

As long as it is both appropriate for the setting and comfortable, don’t worry too much about what others think. What matters is that you wear the outfit that makes you look and feel your best. 

Acclimatise To Your Surroundings 

Although this tip might not be possible for everyone, paying a visit to the location where you’ll make your presentation can help you acclimatise to the environment in a more manageable way. 

Sometimes, the nerves we feel around public speaking simply stem from a sense of unknowing. By becoming familiar with your surroundings prior to the presentation date, you’ll feel fully prepared the next time you enter the space. 

Closing Thoughts

When it comes down to it, you are the only one who can overcome this obstacle. Instead of fighting against feelings of stress and uncertainty, recognise them and find a way to work with them.

After all, you’ve masted the art of studying for exams, and giving a presentation is a lot like completing a verbal exam. You’ve got this!

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