How to stop getting stressed during a presentation?
What's your secret to stop getting stressed during a presentation?
1. Experience - That's it.
Exactly! You just gotta do it more and more, and eventually you realize your level of apprehension ahead of a presentation is almost nill.
Remember that not only you, there are many people constantly getting nervous in any speaking situation. It doesn't matter if it is just an informal presentation to my research group or a big talk at a conference. Many of us stutter and struggle through every talk.
Over the course of a few years, I did public lectures to hundreds of people, I ran a D&D game, and ended up in a corporate job where, at one point, I found myself giving a talk every day for a month.
Now, I'm completely confident in any public speaking situation. I'll talk about basically anything in front of any group willing to listen.
I totally sympathize with anyone who finds this advice terrifying but you can't do better than just getting experience. Find opportunities to talk in a formal context, pick small groups or topics you feel really confident in but struggle through the embarrassment until you don't care anymore.
2. Knowing the material really well.
Public speaking doesn’t bother you if you know the material really well. Know what you’re talking about and you’ll be fine. Don’t be afraid to not know something too. If someone asks you something you don’t know, just say so.
I know that may sound obvious, notthing special, but that’s honestly my best hedge against anxiety. If you fail to plan, you plant to fail.
How you prepare is key. Don’t write a word for word speech. Develop your presentation in the form of questions that you can answer. That way, when you get off of your plan, or have a question pop up that you didn’t explicitly plan for, you’re already in the mindset of solving a problem rather than reciting a speech. It allows you to pivot and improvise much more effectively.
4. Dressing up
Couple of things that worked really well for me: dressing up. At least personally, when I throw on a suit and tie, I feel unstoppable. Knowing that I at least look nice can take the edge off the fear of not doing well.
If you can, try to memorize (or at least be VERY familiar) with the first paragraph or so of your speech. Maybe you don't have time to prep for the whole thing, but if you can start off strong, you'll feel a lot more comfortable for the rest of the speech (plus you'll have made a good impression on the crowd already). (Note cards help)
Take some time and watch some TED talks on YouTube. Find somebody who's presenting style you vibe with, then try to model your style after them.
Don't be afraid to admit if you don't know something. If your presentation has a Q/A and you get asked a difficult question, it's WAY better to just say "I'll look into this and get back to you with an answer" then to just flounder and try to BS something.
5. No one will remember
I don't remember the people that bombed presentations because those aren't formative memories. No matter how much I bomb this presentation, no one will remember in a month, especially since they are stressed about their own presentation.