What is your best tip to calm the nerves for a virtual presentation?
Public speaking is known to bring about anxiety. Add the extra challenge of navigating virtual meeting technology to the mix, and it can raise the level of dread exponentially. To help calm your nerves during a virtual presentation, we asked business professionals and public speakers this question for their best advice. From listening to energizing music to preparing in advance, there are several invaluable nuggets of advice that may help you successfully present to a virtual audience.
Here are nine helpful tips for calming your nerves for a virtual presentation:
- Go With the Flow
- Shake Off Your Nerves
- Preparation is the Key
- Get to Know the Room
- Practice Makes Perfect
- Look Confident, Feel Confident
- Rid Yourself of Distractions
- Look at the Camera
- Get in the Zone With Music
Go With the Flow
Take a couple of deep breaths and have full confidence in yourself. Don’t over-prepare and, in my opinion, never have a script. Move with the flow as spontaneity is the best for any kind of presentation.
Rahul Mitra ’21 MBA (Corporate Finance) ’21 MS (MIS), Graduate Assistant at University of Arizona
Shake Off Your Nerves
Shake it out. Often when we find ourselves working from home, we’re not moving around enough. Getting up to dance around can help get out extra energy and calm your nerves.
Nellie Hundshamer ’16 BSBA (Business Management), Guest Experience Manager of Entertainment of The Walt Disney Company
Preparation is the Key
Having an in-depth understanding of your presentation content, technology, and audience will give you the confidence you need to be successful. Advanced preparation also gives you time just prior to your presentation to engage in activities that dispel nervous energy. Instead of scrambling to rehearse your presentation, revise your slide deck, or navigate a new presentation technology, spend some time outdoors, go for a brisk walk, or spend some time in quiet meditation. These techniques will leave you energized and refreshed for a stellar, nerve-free presentation.
Kim Marchesseault, Senior Lecturer, Business Communications, Eller College of Management
Get to Know the Room
To help with the nerves for virtual presentations, get to mingle with the audience beforehand if it’s at all possible. A lot of nervous energy can be dissipated if you’re able to get to know the feel of the room before you have to present. Remember, everyone watching you is human too, or at least understands the nerves that can come up. But getting to know your audience if you’re not the first to present during a virtual meeting or presentation can make you feel more relaxed before you have to speak. Take a few deep breaths and be ready to take on the presentation with people who are much like you.
Ryan Nouis, TruPath
Practice Makes Perfect
Depending on the forum and type of presentation, it’s often difficult to avoid the nerves, but the more you present, the better you get at it. The more seasoned you are at presenting, you will find your own style and techniques that work best for you. Some people like to start by telling jokes and do a fun little exercise to engage the audience. These are some tips and tricks that you can develop with time to help with the presentation jitters.
Rronniba Pemberton, Markitors
Look Confident, Feel Confident
A great way to relieve pre-presentation anxiety is to practice your body language! Standing (or sitting if it’s virtual) in confident positions will help boost your mental confidence as well. So stand or sit up straight, keep your head up, and don’t forget to smile. Smiling releases endorphins which can help combat any anxious feelings you have about your presentation. The bottom line is if you practice confidence with your body, your mind will follow.
Nina Jensen, 8×8
Rid Yourself of Distractions
Turn off any notifications. Keep your phone on silent. If you share a space with others, make sure that you give yourself enough time to create an optimal presentation space and let them know in advance.
Look at the Camera
Presenting over Zoom isn’t all that different from presenting in person once you get a handle on the Zoom interface and get comfortable being on camera. I think that the biggest learning curve for Zoom comfort is learning how to look at the camera and not at yourself. It’s tempting to check in on your own camera to see how you look to the other Zoom members, but it’s very obvious to the rest of the room. Looking at the other Zoom members will also pull your eye-line below the camera and disrupt your storytelling skills.
Ashwinn Krishnaswamy, Oklahoma Smokes
Get in the Zone With Music
Every time I am about to present at an event or be a guest on another podcast, I listen to music. I tend to listen to rock n’ roll music to get me all energized to present. It helps my brain focus on the lyrics instead of my anxious thoughts about presenting to people I don’t know. When I am presenting, I have the beat of the music in my mind and body while I am presenting. So, in other words, what you see on camera and hear the excitement in my voice is because of the music I was just listening to, and because I am very passionate about the topic I am going to talk about.
Jimmy Clare, CrazyFitnessGuy