Does speaking in front of a group ever make you nervous? As Mark Twain once said, “There are two types of speakers – those that are nervous and those that are liars.” A little bit of nerves can be good as they can help to energize your delivery. But if they get out of control, your entire presentation could crash and burn! Here are a few tips to get those butterflies in your stomach to fly in formation!

Try to relax the body and relieve tension in the neck and shoulders, important areas in the vocal production process.

  • Shoulder Rolls – Push them forward, then roll them up and around in slow circles several times, then reverse and roll in the opposite direction.
  • Head Rolls – Drop the head forward, then roll around toward the right ear, then the other direction toward the left ear, feeling the stretch in the neck.
  • Breathing – Practice deep diaphragmatic breathing to slow your racing heart. Put your hands on your waist, inhale on a count of 5, hold for 3, then exhale on 7. Visualize your lungs filling completely with air and feel your stomach extending out. Raising your shoulders up and down is not good breathing!
  • While waiting to be introduced, uncross your legs. Plant both feet on the ground and let your arms dangle at your sides. Do tiny stretches in the neck and shoulders to check for tension.

Don’t spend those final moments thinking about your opening lines or knocking knees. Instead, concentrate on your objectives. What do you want the audience to know/feel/do differently as a result of your presentation? How is this going to make their lives or organization better? When you get your mind off of yourself and onto your audience and what they need, you’ll put the focus where it needs to be. And not only will your mind and body be engaged, your heart will be engaged, too!

® 2018 Jill Bremer