Before I have to get in front of an audience, for any reason, I always get the jitters. It never seems to matter how prepared I am, how early I get there, or how simple the presentation is going to be. Here are a few things I’ve found work to help get rid of my jitters, and hopefully they’ll work for you!
Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture
The most noticeable sign I have the jitters is my inability to stand still. I pace up and down the hallway before class, jump up and down off-stage, or click my pen cap while waiting for my turn to present. Some physical exertion before the big event always helps get my blood pressure back to normal, which usually involves an iPod jam session. Hopping around to one of my favorite songs for a few minutes helps me release nervous tension and chill my brain out. If I need an extra strong dose, I’ll even sing along to the song I’m dancing to. So find the physical activity that helps your jitters hit the road!
Once all systems are go for performance, you sometimes need to pull out some relaxation techniques. A deep inhale/exhale combo can help, or focusing on relaxing all the different parts of your body. A quick stretch always helps ease some of my tension out.
Slow and Steady (Wins the Race)
For a lot of people, having the jitters means that they start talking quickly. Very quickly. By focusing on speaking slowly you can help ease your anxiety because you’ll have something specific to focus on. And don’t worry about going too slow…most people are still talking quickly even when they feel like their lips are barely moving.
Give Yourself a Hand!
Remember all those other times you were in front of a crowd? Focus on a few times when you’ve felt really successful, and use that positive energy to fuel your next performance.
A Little Perspective Goes a Long Way
The big presentation today that was getting me all worked up ended up being worth only ten percent of my overall grade. By putting your fears into perspective, and knowing that the worst that can happen isn’t so bad, you can give a better performance because you’re not freaking out. So take a deep breath, crack your knuckles, and get in there! Give it your best shot!
What are some other tips you use to help get rid of presentation jitters?