The Fear Factor Revisited

(As an executive presentation coach, the most useful and valuable skill I can share with anyone is how to manage their Presentation Anxiety. So, consider this KISS version of a longer piece a holiday gift from me to all of you.) 

How many of you experience pain when you deliver presentations at work? How many hate speaking in public? I see a lot of hands up, so let’s briefly discuss five simple strategies for managing your Presentation Anxiety.

First, it’s a perfectly normal human feeling. Everyone has some degree of PA; It’s caused by reactions to stress and fear.

Second, PA doesn’t have a singular cause. It’s the result of a number of different and separate factors that vary by person and situation. And you can take specific actions to reduce their impact. Begin by clearly identifying each specific factor you think cause your level of PA, like fear of forgetting or fear of audience questions.

Third, for each of these specific causes, what simple steps can you take to reduce or minimize their impact? To minimize the fear of forgetting, practice enough to remember most of your content and create simple, easy-to-read speaker notes to remind you of the rest. Minimize the fear of audience questions by anticipating the obvious ones and creating short clear answers for them.

Fourth, no matter what you do, you’ll still have some level of PA left, so mask the symptoms that still show up in your vocal and physical delivery. Pause more and longer … smile more often … sustain longer eye contact … and avoid those movements or gestures that appear nervous. If you look and sound confident to your audience … you are, because their perception is your reality.

And fifth … hard as it sounds … look like you’re having fun up there.

So, there you have five simple strategies for managing Presentation Anxiety. Best holiday wishes for presenting with more confidence and less pain.