Presenting to an audience is often a small challenge. Most presenters are more or less nervous when standing in front of an auditorium. Many people even get real stage fright. But what helps against it? Besides aids such as autogenic training or tranquilizers, there is an unspectacular but effective trick to alleviate the fear of performing in front of an audience: Professional preparation.
Stage fright can affect anyone who performs in public. The fear of appearing in front of an audience is often not so easy to control. There are musicians and actors who have been performing in public for decades as true professionals and who suffer from stage fright time and again. What happens if the artist forgets the text or plays an audibly wrong note? Then nervousness can quickly turn into panic. Once you have panicked, it is very difficult to get the situation under control again. For presenters, breakdowns during a presentation are the biggest stress factor. The audience often doesn’t even notice smaller mishaps. Larger breakdowns can ruin the entire presentation.
Is stage fright a part of it?
Not all people are the same. There are speakers who have a lot of experience and self-confidence and who hardly feel nervous when speaking in front of large groups. Then there are presenters who are not at all afraid of smaller groups, but become restless in large halls. I read about former CSU chairman Edmund Stoiber that he routinely gave his speeches in large beer tents. But as soon as a TV camera was running, he got nervous. A small group of people may actually be completely free of nervousness when they have to deliver a speech in front of an audience. The vast majority of people who “expose” themselves to an audience know feelings ranging from mild nervousness, to strong inner restlessness, to severe stress and anxiety attacks.
Basically, we all can’t help it if we get stage fright. It is an automatic reaction that is deeply rooted in our genes. Our ancestors had to react quickly when hunting wild animals or fleeing from warlike conspecifics. The body releases adrenalin and prepares the organism for fight or flight. Of course, today we are no longer in danger of our lives when we want to present something in front of a larger group of people. Stage fright is connected with an expectation that the quality of our performance will be judged by the audience.
Stage fright can be your ally
One thing is clear: A strong stage fright, when you can hardly keep up on your feet, is of no use to you. In such a case, you should consider visiting an experienced therapist who can help you professionally to get your fear under control. However, a slight tension will bring you some advantages. Stage fright sharpens the senses. You become more concentrated, your senses are all at their peak and you can focus entirely on your presentation. You will not be distracted by trivialities, but with your consciousness you are completely in your task.
Which little trick soothes your stage fright?
As we have just found out, a slightly increased adrenaline level is quite helpful to conduct a presentation with high concentration. But often the fear of failing in front of an audience is unpleasantly high. In addition to various breathing and relaxation exercises, there is a profane, but quite effective method to lower the stress level before a presentation. And this is the optimal preparation. We have already noticed that breakdowns can ruin the whole presentation.
By eliminating all sources of error as much as possible, you can also step more calmly before your audience. That starts with the planning. Try to avoid time pressure by starting the preparations early. Under time pressure, mistakes creep in quickly. The sets of foils have a great potential for errors. Content errors, wrong design, the list of error sources is long. You can have a professional PowerPoint presentation created if you know a good agency for presentations. If you want to create the slides yourself, an agency can at least significantly improve the individual slides.
But the biggest “source of error” is often the presenter himself. Practice your presentation by reciting it out loud several times until everything fits. A professional presentation agency can also help you to achieve considerable improvements in your performance in a short time. A few hours of work with a presentation expert will greatly enhance your ability to speak in front of an audience. The more conscientiously you prepare yourself, the more confident and calm you will appear in front of your audience.
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