How to banish those speaker nerves

Illustration showling nervous speaker

They’re the questions we all ask when we’re due to speak at an event. How can you exude confidence when you feel insecure? How can you stand tall and radiate power on stage when you’re a bunch of nerves? Well, according to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, the answers lie in your body language. Her impressive Ted Talk called ‘Fake it ‘til you become it’ explains how our body language has a lot to do with how others see us, and it also affects our self-esteem. By simply standing in a posture of confidence it can help us project an image of strength and can even influence our chances of delivering a successful presentation. Here’s how it works;

Do the ‘wonder woman’ pose

Are you familiar with the power pose? You simply stand tall with your chest out and your hands on your hips. According to Cuddy’s research, high power poses increase testosterone in the body and you are biologically primed to be more confident and less stressed. So take 15 minutes before your presentation or speech, find a quiet room and strike a pose!

Show that smile

Look at your audience and smile. This may sound very obvious, but you’d be amazed at the number of people who allow nerves to take over and forget to do this. Take a few seconds to look at your audience, find a friendly face and smile. Chances are, people will like you before you even begin your presentation if you look them in the eye. Smiling is one of your most powerful weapons, so you don’t forget to use it.

Move that body

Adding movement to your speech can make it more interesting and help audiences engage with what you’ve got to say. Here’s how it works. Take one slide with 3 bullet points. Position yourself at one area of the stage and talk about your first point, then move a few steps to the right or left and talk about your second point. For your final point, move back to where you were for your first point. Incorporating movement into your presentation can also help you remember your slide content. If you’re feeling extra confident, try walking around and towards people, audiences tend to participate more when they are close to a speaker.

Own your content

If you have some interesting facts on your presentation slides, make sure to point directly at it and look at it on the screen. At the same time, your audience will follow you and be drawn in. It also takes a little pressure off you as the audience move their gaze from you to the screen. Whatever gesture you make should be purposeful and reflective of your words so the audience will note only the effect, not the gesture itself. But be careful not to overdo it!

Finally, remember practice makes perfect. Body language is essential to a good presentation and needs to be practiced in order to look natural. Keeping these tips in mind will help you fake it until you become the brilliant, confident speaker that you are destined to be.


This entry has 0 replies

Comments are closed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.