Dealing With Nerves


See the room where you’ll be presenting and test all of the equipment, including the microphone and handheld remote.  A wireless lavaliere or over-the-ear microphone offers the most mobility around the presentation space.  To reduce the chance of feedback, make sure that you don’t walk in front of the speakers.  Ask that an A/V technician is on-site to help you with any problems.  Locate and learn the operations of light switches and the room thermostat.


Meet and greet the audience as they arrive.  Chatting with a few people ahead of time will help to turn the mysterious crowd into friendly faces; your speech will feel more like a conversation than a formal presentation.  Don’t forget to place a glass of water at the lectern and a tissue and cough drop in your pocket.


Away from the crowd, practice deep breathing exercises to slow your racing heart.  Try shoulder shrugs, head rolls and leg and arm shakes to relieve body tension.  Warm up your face muscles by chewing in a highly exaggerated way.

While waiting to be introduced, do not sit with your legs crossed.  Sit with both feet on the ground and let your arms dangle at your sides.

To prepare yourself mentally, don’t spend the last moments thinking about your opening lines or knocking knees.  Instead, concentrate on your objectives.  What do you want the audience to think/feel/do differently as a result of your presentation?  This will put the focus where it needs to be at this moment – on your audience.


Before you begin speaking, establish eye contact with a friendly face in the crowd, smile and take a breath.  Now you are ready.

© 2017 Jill Bremer  All rights reserved.