The current pandemic has truly changed our world, even in the way we work. Instead of face-to-face meetings, our days are now filled with video conference calls. For most people, being put in the spotlight during these meetings is no problem. But for others, it is a daunting task. If you’re one of those who dread public speaking, even virtually, here are 9 quick tips on how to fight the nerves and be a confident public and virtual speaker.
- Master your topic. The best weapon against nervousness is preparing well. If you know your topic by heart, you will excude confidence in everything you say.
- Prepare your notes. If you can write this on a small card in bullet form, that would be ideal. Although most presentation software will have the notes feature, having them on a physical card can be more effective as it is multi-sensory (touch and sight).
- Have a good night’s sleep. This might be difficult especially if you’re really anxious about the meeting the next day. Do your best to relax the night before and not cram your preparation the night before. Sleep deprivation will slow down your reflexes and can affect your presentation.
- Dress well. Dress from top to bottom and resist the urge to only wear short below your top. Always assume that your listeners can see EVERYTHING!
- Camera and microphone check. Connect early for the meeting to do a sound test and camera test. You don’t want your presentation to start off the wrong foot with everyone saying, “You’re on mute!!!”
- Do breathing exercises. If your heart is racing, most likely so is your breathing. Calm yourself by doing breathing exercises before the meeting start. You can also do a quick meditation or stretching to further calm your nerves.
- Slow down and enunciate. If you’re nervous, the tendency is to speak fast and get the presentation done quickly. But if you speak too fast, it is more likely that you’ll make a mistake which will make you even more nervous. Take your time and speak clearly at a normal pace.
- Look into the camera. This is unnatural for most of us so you need to practice this in advance. You need to look straight into the camera so that you can connect with your listeners. If you look elsewhere, it will seem that you are unsure of what you are saying.
- Make it interactive. Set a time for your participants to answer ice-breakers or do a quick game for a knowledge check. Even if you have the best material to discuss, but if you are not able to connect to your listeners and have them care enough to listen, then you won’t get through to your participants.
Speaking publicly comes naturally for some. But if it doesn’t for you, don’t lose hope.
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