77% of all people experience some form of anxiety about presenting. That is a pretty big figure. But truth be told, even the best public speakers and presenters will have some form of nerves when speaking in front of a large audience, especially if it's important. And that's okay.
To help, there are three key realisations you can make to become better at confident presenting - or at least, to understand that being nervous isn't as big a deal as you may have thought.
1. You do not look as nervous as you feel
HelpMePresent's founder explains "My client's often tell me how they get so nervous before a presentation they have visions of themselves sweating, going red, shaking and more. One pretty senior client told me how nervous he gets before important presentations and wishes he could get rid of this. But when he sees videos of himself presenting back, he couldn't believe how "normal" he appears.
This doesn't surprise me. Most people think they look more nervous than they actually do. Much like a swan above the surface of a lake, the aim is to appear pretty calm and self-assured on the outside, even if your stomach is churning inside".
And the realisation that your audience probably won't detect your nerves is probably enough to reduce the nerves in the first place. Chances are, people are more likely to be wondering what they'll have for lunch than focusing on how nervous you might be.
2. Nerves and excitement go hand in hand
Another key realisation to start making now is that nerves often come with excitement. "I often tell my clients presenting is in some ways like acting" says Niluka. "And just like an actress might feel nervous before going on stage, she'll also feel very excited. The same can be said for public speaking. Especially if it's an important speech, talk, presentation or pitch, the nerves will be high - but so will the excitement".
Take the butterflies in your stride and use that nervous energy to deliver a brilliant presentation.
3. Just because you are nervous doesn't mean you are doing a bad job
We need to unwrite the idea that excellent public speakers don't get nervous. If they were nervous, they wouldn't be so good. This is incorrect. There is no direct correlation between nerves and how good you are at presenting. If we return to our swan analogy, the swan is paddling frantically underwater, despite the fact it moves so elegantly. The same could be said for presenters who may get nervous but still do a fantastic job.
What is obvious is how good presenters are able to contain their nerves and not let them overwhelm them. The nerves in themselves are not the problem. It's how you deal with them that will determine whether you present well.
If increasing your confidence when presenting is something you want to improve, let us know by getting in touch today. We always tailor sessions to your goals and needs, so we'll be able to help you where we can.
HelpMePresent is the tutoring of presenting. We offer 1-1, flexible, accessible sessions that can be easily booked, including packages specifically for women and international speakers. Click to book now.