5 Ways to Instantly Calm Yourself Before Giving a Speech or Presentation

There are very few people out there who are born feeling 100 percent comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. Most of us get the public speaking jitters and clammy hands before taking on such a task, which is totally normal.

It doesn’t always have to be that way each time you step in front of a microphone, however. Practice makes perfect (or, rather, close to it) yet there are other ways to calm your nerves before giving a big presentation that are easy to do the day of the event. Try out some of these suggestions the next time you plan on engaging the masses.

1) Practice some deep breathing

The power of deep breathing cannot be underestimated. It can help people with sleeping trouble, long-term stress and even making our circulation and digestion more efficient. Why not use it to your advantage as you prepare to step in front of a crowd? These exercises can be done in just 10 minutes. You can do them on your way to the event or right before you take the stage.

2) Hit the gym beforehand

There’s nothing like the endorphin high you get after a good workout. We feel better about ourselves and our abilities, more focused and ready to take on the world. Schedule your favorite type of exercise before you plan on giving a rousing speech and you’ll be riding that high throughout your event. Alternatively, find a quiet space to do some tabata squats, quick push-ups or high knees to get your blood pumping and body & mind ready to go!

3) Familiarize yourself with your surroundings

It can throw any of us off to step into a brand new location and be expected to focus on a task. Our brains are more relaxed when not taking in a bunch of new stimuli. Before your speech, take a moment to survey the space, ground yourself to where you are in the moment, and you will feel more prepared. It also couldn’t hurt to make sure you know where a drinking fountain, coffee machine or restroom is located, in case you need them. As they say, proper planning prevents poor performance!

4) Redirect your nervousness into enthusiasm

Acknowledging that we are feeling anxious can take a lot of power away from that feeling’s hold on us. Talk to yourself a bit. Recognize that you are nervous, normalize that feeling in the given situation and give yourself a break. Tell yourself that you aren’t so much scared as you are excited for the opportunity ahead.

5) Reflect on the impact you want to make

And while you’re engaging in some self-talk, remind yourself of why you’re there in the first place. What kind of powerful message do you want to deliver? What important ideas are you representing? What do you want people to walk away with when they leave? Reflect on all the reasons you want to make a splash and these will end up guiding you as you present.

Related:
A Surprising Way to Deal with Anxiety
12 Yoga Moves to Overcome Anxiety
The Zen of Public Speaking

Photo credit: Thinkstock

39 comments

heather g
heather g1 months ago

I used to be OK giving a presentation to a small group of Board Members. The last time I did a presentation was in Vancouver. I was interrupted by a question which threw me of course for a while. I couldn't believe that the group didn't know where or the size of the Sahara Desert.
When one is brought up and educated elsewhere, one assumes that everyone is equally educated.

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Jerome S
Jerome S2 months ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Holly Windle
Holly Windle2 months ago

I'm glad the recommendation wasn't that one about "imagine your audience sitting there in their underwear." When I taught public speaking, I made sure that my students realized that was a recipe for bad audience rapport.

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson2 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson2 months ago

ty

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mac C
mac C2 months ago

I shy away from situations like this, but I worked for a company where I needed to do a presentation in front of the board of directors every month. I'm sure I did some deep breathing, but mostly I did #5- "reflected on the impact I wanted to make". It was helpful. Thanks for the article, good information.

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Janet B
Janet B2 months ago

Thanks

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Aldana W
Aldana W2 months ago

thanks

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