The 7 things that will stop you fumbling through those slides (and save you when public speaking).

You said yes to the presentation, but only as the date started looming did the nerves start to kick in. 
The anxiety of standing up on front of 10 people and presenting felt awful.
The day of the meeting came and you felt that feeling of nerves in your belly.
The meeting starts and you walk in the room. You sweat.
Introductions are made, the pleasantries exchanged and then the reigns are handed over to you.
You fire up your first slide, freeze — it seems like an age. 
Everyone is looking at you.
Then you remember what your first slide is and start talking. Quickly.
You fumble your way nervously through the next few slides, realising you’ve missed the bits you wanted to focus on, and told them the stuff you think is irrelevant.

The presentation is over and you made it through to the other side.
But you know you could have done better and you’re sure you didn’t get the message you wanted across.

You’re also convinced people could see your nerves and that you waffled or showed you were nervous.

This was a scary experience.

You make a commitment to yourself to never present again — public speaking isn’t for you.

Or…

You make a commitment to yourself to better yourself and do it all over again.

— — -

I’ve heard from countless individuals that the one thing that scares them more than anything else, is public speaking.

Typical comments are:

“I won’t have anything interesting to say”
“I will freeze”
“I’ll shake”
“I’ll waffle my lines”
“I’ll look stupid”
“People don’t want see me”
“I’ll get really nervous”
...

The list goes on.

The thing is — everything above is just in your head and it’s really quite simple to move from ‘petrified’ to ‘able to deliver a talk’, without too much effort.

You might just need a gentle nudge in the right direction and some support overcoming the things that don’t actually matter.

Often the fears and worries that hold people back from confidently presenting are just that — fears and worries.

They are not reflective of reality and are stories that are held in our heads, very often about how we ‘think’ others will view us.

The reality of the situation is that the vast majority of these fears are not realised, and are not even visible to those watching you.

Just the fact you have said ‘yes’ to speak to a group of people puts you head and shoulders above the majority in terms of confidence.

So what can you do, right now, to help improve your public speaking endeavors?

Here’s some tips:

_Prepare — always prepare. Don’t write a script to follow, but definitely prepare.
_Breathe — take a deep breath beforehand and remember to keep taking breaths!
_Tell stories — stories engage, whereas facts bore.
_Smile — smile at people and they will smile back. This is an instant confidence boost.
_Focus on what *you* think matters. Talk about what *you* think is important — not what you think the audience will think is important.
_Use emotion — talk about how you feel about the content, what the journey has been to get there and what should be taken from it. Emotions are relatable — whereas facts aren’t.
_Have a beginning, a middle and an end. Yes really :)
_Use questions — asking questions of the audience can instantly engage and bring people on board
_Don’t fear questions — if you don’t know the answer to a post presentation question, be honest and say you don’t know (and commit to follow up with the answer)
_Trust that whatever comes up is the right thing — the audience don’t know your script, so don’t worry if you miss out a nugget.
_Slow down — pace yourself — a good pause can help a message land and give yourself a chance to take a breath.
_Your anxieties are invisible — chances are, no one can see your nerves. So relax and just be you.
_Accept that nerves and anxieties are part of the process, rather than something that indicates your going wrong.

Nerves and anxieties are things that should be managed, rather than things that need to be beaten. The goal is not to eradicate them, it’s to learn how to work with them and use them.

Public speaking is scary stuff, but we can all do it. After all, we do it all day every day — we just don’t label it as so when we’re chatting to our colleagues or friends.

Everyone has a story and everyone has a voice. My vision is one where everyone has the confidence to join the two together and be heard.

When one speaks, others listen. When others listen, others share. Be the catalyst for conversation and share your story.

Matt

Matthew Matheson