Public speaking can be terrifying, especially if you are a shy person.
However, being that shouldn’t stop you from becoming an outstanding presenter. The world is filled with successful speakers and entertainers who tend to clam up in large public settings.
The key is to expand themselves and open up to the possibility of spending at least part of their time in a gregarious state. It might not feel comfortable at first, but it is a crucial step for anyone who wants to be a more effective communicator.
Here are some tips to help reserved speakers give solid presentations:
1. Prepare like an athlete.
Before every presentation make sure to warm up your body and mind. You could try some stretching or yoga exercises or go for a brisk walk. It is helpful to get all the tension out of your body first, and then focus your mind on the outcome you want to achieve.
Once you have relaxed, start thinking thoughts as though your desired outcome has been achieved, such as “I loved being with this audience!” or “My presentation was a great success!” This will switch your mind from fear to certainty that you can achieve the result you want and approach the presentation with confidence.
2. Visualize the outcome you want.
Visualizing success before it happens is something that athletes and performers have used for years. Stay focused on your desired outcome and imagine in vivid detail the presentation going incredibly well. See the audience engaging with and appreciating your presentation.
Feel the positive emotions associated with your great success and start feeling good about the presentation before it happens. This is a powerful way to interrupt any fear or doubt and make you feel empowered before you present.
3. Breathe away tension.
Most people enter “fight or flight” mode when they get nervous. As a presenter this will make it virtually impossible to perform at your best.
One the simplest ways to get out of this state is to take a clearing breath. This will ease the mind, increase confidence and lower your heart rate and blood pressure. There are many ways to do this, such as the “6-2-7” method, which involves inhaling through your nose for 6 seconds, holding it for 2 seconds and exhaling for 7 seconds. It is important that the exhale is longer than the inhale to calm and relax your body and mind.
4. Create a power move.
Some of the best performers in the world use a power move before stepping in front of an audience to put them in an optimum state for success. Tony Robbins pounds his chest and uses some dynamic movements to get him prepared backstage. Tiger Woods shakes his fist and yells “Yes!” Find a power move that you can use as a fast and effective way to create a quick and dynamic change.
5. Write an identity statement.
Change your identity into a more confident and extraverted version of yourself by creating a powerful identity statement that consists of the strength that you want to have and what you want to accomplish.
It could be something like this: “I love giving presentations. I always find a way to connect with and influence every audience I speak to!”
Create your own identity statement and start using it right away.
6. Turn these tricks into a routine.
Use the tools and strategies above to create a routine for yourself before every presentation. Using these emotional and mental preparation techniques in a routine can help you achieve spectacular results.
Tom McCarthy is the founder of the Fire Up Training System.