What is it about interviews and presentations that can turn highly rational, skilled professionals into a state of stress and anxiety? Even the most successful of professionals can become nervous when speaking to the press, giving speeches, or even standing up in front of their own staff to update them on company developments. If you suffer from similar nerves, you may well recognise that your reactions are illogical, so you need help to overcome these reactions. Recognising that our unconscious mind is doing its best to protect us from humiliating or difficult situations can help in overcoming the problem. Fear and avoidance often link into old patterns of learned behaviour and can even date back to unpleasant situations in the past when we experienced humiliation. Follow these five top tips before any public speaking event to banish your nerves and deliver confident and effective presentations: 1. Use techniques to reinforce confidence and self-belief Practise positive visualisation. This involves seeing, feeling, really experiencing the image of how to see oneself in a presentation situation – calm, relaxed, effective, enjoying the opportunity to do well. 2. Use positive affirmations Say positive phrases: “I can do this”, “I am good”, “I know my subject”. This can become a good habit and allow us to change negative ways of talking to ourselves. Many people talk to themselves quite harshly, in ways that that they would never talk to another person. 3. Take practical steps Getting to the room early, familiarising yourself with the layout of the room, seeing where people will be sitting, feeling comfortable so that there are no surprises, all help you to feel more calm and relaxed. You should also ensure that any technical equipment is working and that you have a glass of water handy. Knowing where to put your notes also helps to give a sense of being in control. 4. Talk to one person Once the presentation has started, find three or four friendly faces in different parts of the audience and talk to them individually in turn. This results in you being engaged with the whole audience and can make you appear confident and relaxed. 5. Don’t panic Remember, no one knows what should have been said, so if the presentation doesn’t quite go to plan, then that’s fine. Who’s to know? Also, an occasional slip or sign of nerves can often engage the audience, especially when they see the speaker persevering through their nervousness. About the author Susan Leigh is a well established counsellor and hypnotherapist, as well as a new member of the FPB. To find out more, visit Susan’s recently re-launched website at www.lifestyletherapy.net
What is it about interviews and presentations that can turn highly rational, skilled professionals into a state of stress and anxiety? Even the most successful of professionals can become nervous at the thought of speaking to the press, crowds of people, or even their own staff.