A few more tips and tricks
The following are ways to calm your nerves for the next time you speak, in addition to your improv and acting practice:
1. It’s Just an Extended Conversation
Rely on the familiarity of your subject matter to put you at ease. You’re the expert. Most people in the audience are not.
2. Visualization is Key
Visualize what you want the experience to be before you step on stage. Adjust accordingly if things don’t seem as you expected. Some of the best speeches I’ve seen given and seen were improvised.
3. Don’t Worry About Things You Can’t Control
Unproductive worrying drains the energy needed to stay focused on your energetic and compelling presentation.
4. Keep Moving
Don’t stop for mistakes. The odds are good that no one but you will even notice your error. Keep talking.
5. Forgive and Forget
Don’t punish yourself for things you may have forgotten. The audience will never know what you meant to include. =
6. Watch Your Audience
Watch how they react. Great speakers have a heightened sense of situational awareness. Make immediate adjustments in response to the room dynamic.
7. Forget the Notes
Forget the notes you wanted to keep in your hand. They’re a crutch and get in the way. They break your rhythm by looking down and up too much. Look at your audience the entire time.
8. Eliminate Barriers
Eliminate any barriers. Stay as close to your audience as possible as it is difficult for you to establish rapport from a distance. Rapport is what will help you feel more at ease with your audience.
Never wing it! Feeling unprepared is a huge source of anxiety and adds to the social scrutiny you fear. Being unprepared is inexcusable, unnecessary, and causes self-inflicted harm. It’s natural to feel nervous—everyone does.
However, if you incorporate the methods of improvisation along with these strategies, you’ll channel what feels like negative energy into delivering a passionate and inspiring presentation.