Individuals don’t fear dying as much as they do speaking in public. A famous Jerry Seinfeld quote reads – “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
Before you’re supposed to present, do you feel nervous? Do you worry that the audience will laugh at you or you fear disappointment? You are not the only one by any means. The skills needed to deliver a presentation can be learned.
This article will summarize five things you can do to reduce & eventually eliminate your fear of presenting.
1. Remember your audience doesn’t know more than you.
Preferably, try to analyze and learn about your participants ahead of time. You’ll gain a little insight as to the type of audience you’ll have – males vs. females, old vs. young etc. If your audience includes many Nutritionists (unlikely), you’ll always know more than your participants. It’s remarkable how little the public knows with all the nutrition information available to them. Remember that there are all kinds of stories and myths about nutrition. Individuals can be very confused about straightforward information. Be self-assured that you’ll know more than your participants.
2. Rehearse and practice your Nutrition Presentation
This a crucial point to remember and important to do. The more frequently you force yourself to “get out of your comfort zone” and present, the more improvement you will notice. Present to your family and friends or rehearse with a mirror in front of you. Outside resources will also benefit you like Toastmasters. Presenting regularly will help you learn and be prepared for what to expect. Ensure your speaker notes are simple to read and highlight (use a highlighter) key parts of your speech.
3. If you don’t know the answer to a question – remember it’s okay!
No one will know the answer to everything. If you’re delivering a Nutrition presentation and a question is asked that you don’t know the answer to, it’s acceptable to say you don’t know the answer but will find out later. If you obtain their e-mail address or another way to contact them – you can let them know later on. This is a suitable solution. Your credibility is on the line and you don’t want to give out any incorrect information just to “look good” at the moment. Your audience probably doesn’t know that much on the subject – that’s why they’re attending your Nutrition presentation. Remember that and don’t let questions throw you off.
4. Appear confident & self-assured, even if you aren’t!
Confidence is crucial to deliver a successful presentation. Your audience wants to trust you and feel assured that the information they are acquiring is reliable. You’re the professional and they’ve come to listen to you. Would purchasing a new outfit or having a manicure make you feel more confident? Maybe getting a haircut will make you feel good? Do what makes you feel good and feel confident in your Nutrition presentation the day you are presenting.
5. Catch the butterflies in your stomach and get them to fly in formation.
Developing “butterflies in your stomach” (feeling anxious) is the usual response to presenting in public. In order to make those butterflies “fly in formation”, you want to be well prepared before your presentation. If you know your speech very well, you’ll feel less anxious & it will calm your nerves. Attempt to breathe deeply prior to your presentation. This can relax you and help to clear your mind. In these circumstances, the body automatically creates Adrenaline. This is a way of supplying you with the additional energy you need to get through your presentation. Make sure the Adrenaline in your body is working for you, not against you.
Take comfort knowing that even experienced veterans at presenting will still get stage fright. Society lets you believe that delivering a Nutrition presentation will make you nervous. Many people may tell you this – but don’t believe them. If you believe this is the way it will be, it will definitely come true. Don’t let nervousness become a “self-fulfilling prophecy”. It may happen, but it’s not a given.