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What are the most common reasons for nervousness and stage fright during presentations?
Stage fright is an unpleasant but normal combination of individually different physical and psychological stress reactions. Increased sweating, skin redness, pauses in breathing and a shaky voice. Depending on their own personality, almost everyone knows these or similar symptoms from their own experience. It is often a combination of several factors that trigger stage fright:
- We are afraid of failure
- We feel the pressure of expectations and are unsure whether we can live up to it
- We are afraid of other people judging us
- We face an uncertain situation
In these and similar situations, our body triggers an evolutionary program designed to prepare us for fight or flight. Our heartbeat increases to supply the body with more oxygen and thus increase performance. Muscle tone increases as the body is under tension and adrenaline is released
All very handy when we have to fight a cave lion. Very unfavorable if we want to present the quarterly figures calmly and confidently.
How to develop a positive attitude towards presentations?
Once you get your stage fright under control and have had a few positive experiences, you will automatically develop a positive attitude towards presentations. Until then, “fake it, till you make it” applies. The magic word is “revaluation”. We have to see every performance as an opportunity, maybe even as a privilege. Because in this situation we have the chance to show ourselves and our competence, we will certainly be praised and a good presentation can be a first or further step in our career. So, for a change, we need to focus on the positive things that can happen to us.
Self-affirmation and visualization help immensely – so if we talk ourselves into it: “You can do it! It’s going to be great!” “It’s going to be fine!”. You don’t even have to believe in it yourself. It also works like that. The certainty of being very well prepared gives additional security.
What are effective techniques to reduce nervousness and stage fright during presentations?
You can regulate your acute stress with a simple but extremely effective two-step trick. If you notice your personal stress reactions, such as increased sweating, label them In the first step completely neutral: “Hey, that’s my stress reaction!” Just naming it reduces the stress. At the second step evaluate the stress reaction positively: “Whoa, great. A stress reaction!”
With this method, you can reduce your stress level by up to 70 percent. You don’t even have to believe what you tell yourself. Just as it’s impossible for you to absolutely not imagine a pink elephant right now, when I ask you not to imagine a pink elephant, your stress can’t help but go down. Because the effect is a physiological necessity based on the antagonistic interplay between the stress and reward systems in our brain. Together with the self-affirmation “I can do that!” and the positive re-evaluation “Man, what a chance!” You will get on “the stage” – and back down – well.
How can you present yourself confidently and confidently, even when you’re nervous?
Your nervousness is revealed in body language, gestures and voice. So we have to get these three areas under control. But how much do we really have to? For example, we think everyone should hear the tremor in our voice. Perhaps, like many people, you are firmly convinced that other people study you very closely, sort of illuminate you and notice every little flaw in you. Incorrect. Most listeners are completely unaware of your inner state. And this knowledge already gives security. Also knowing that any facial redness you may experience will peak after 15 seconds and then fade away. Nobody notices.
To appear confident, have a stable and central stance (don’t hide), speak clearly and at a reasonable volume and pace (never forget to breathe) without becoming too loud and over-articulated. Maintain eye contact. Although it sounds paradoxical, this is particularly easy in group situations. Draw a mental line about a thumb’s width above the heads of the listeners in the back row. At this height you slowly let your gaze wander. This is how you make everyone in the room feel like you’re looking and included.