Almost all of us experienced a time when we had to present something in front of people. At school, university or workplace. In some cases there are 5 to 10 people, and sometimes - over a hundred. And for most of us there is a common pattern - a fear of stage. Even when you are very well prepared and rehearsed your presentation many times, there is a particular lack of confidence and feeling of anxiety. Feeling that something may go wrong, you will forget your words or even stuck in the middle of presentation!
I regularly give presentations and talks. Most of the time my audience doesn't exceed 100 people (casual meetups and internal events). But I'm not different to other human beings, and getting nervous while giving a public speech is a pretty common thing for me. I didn't realize a problem while being in university, since most of the people don't actually care about what you are talking. However, when you are delivering something to audience which is highly experienced in a field, you understand that any mistake can ruin your performance!
What I faced during my career, is that being nervous while having a public speech does not only influence your psychological condition, but it also degrades the quality of your content. As an example, once I spent almost a week polishing my slides, talk and acting, while during an actual performance suddenly became nervous, lost my train of thoughts and barely delivered everything I intended to. And everyone can do the same mistake even if you are a very experienced presenter. Below is an example of famous YouTuber Jesse Wellens "messing up" his introduction on EA Need For Speed event:
So, how can we avoid it? Here are my TOP 3 techniques which help me to concentrate on my speech rather rather than being anxious about failure:
1. Understand that most of the time nobody cares about you.
Do you really think that any of those 100 strangers sitting in a room really worries about you? Most of the time - no. Imagine that you are commuting in a train during a peak time. Everyone has their own business and barely has a look at you. Most of the time it happens with audience too. Try to think that the only person who is interested in your speech is yourself! It will help you to remove that "audience dependence" syndrome and make you feel like you are talking to yourself.
2. Imagine a role swap.
Can you make in your imagination a situation when somebody from your audience changes places with you? Do you think that person will be more confident and knowledgeable comparing to yourself? Chances are very low. People can look at you, ask questions from time to time, however nobody would swap places to make presentation instead of you. Have a feeling of being higher than your audience to get more comfortable with situation.
3. Own a stage.
Do you remember that moment when your favorite song hits in a radio while you are in a shower and you simply start singing? Do you really care about your voice? No, you just really like a song. Do the same with your performance. Imagine yourself inside a shower, with your own rules and being passionate about what you are talking right now. Speak and deliver your content like you are talking to yourself. Make the room empty and it will help you to concentrate on your thoughts!
Bonus one: Don't consider people's facial expressions seriously.
Couple of times I got distracted by audience looking bored or literally trying to sleep. And then I started to think: "Oh no! My presentation really sucks if it is so boring...". No, no, no! Continue to play with your own rules and don't try to decypher people's faces. They may just be tired after work :)