Almost everybody is nervous when they stand up to speak. There’s no shame in being nervous. However, if you are too nervous, your anxiety will spread to your audience, making them nervous in turn.
So how can you stop yourself from feeling too nervous? Here are a few tips.
1. Don’t get hung up about being nervous. It’s a normal human reaction. Don’t make yourself more nervous because you’re nervous.
2. Walk off your excessive nervousness. If possible, walk outside and get some fresh air at the same time. But a walk down the corridor is better than no walk.
3. Don’t let your legs go to sleep. Keep the blood supply moving. Keep both feet on the floor and lean forward. Wiggle your toes. If you can stand up without disturbing anybody, do so.
4. Work your wrists, arms and shoulders to get the tension out of them. Gentle movements, not a major workout, will remove that tension.
5. Work your jaw. Gentle side-to-side or circular motion will help to loosen it.
6. Repeat positive affirmations quietly to yourself. “I am a good presenter.” It may seem corny but it works.
7. Above all, breathe deeply. Make sure your stomach is going out when you breathe in.
Don’t be self-conscious about these warm-up activities. Most good speakers do them. Most people won’t even notice that you are doing them. They’re here to hear you speak, they’re not interested in what you do when you are not in the limelight.