Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How to stay ‘in’ your body when presenting to an audience

Well you may ask…where else am I going to go! If you are like most people, then public speaking or presenting is one of your major fears and what can often happen is we ‘leave’ our body.
One of the things that can happen is that because you are so nervous prior to presenting your energy can escape you and you feel light headed and not grounded. A way to manage this is to start to consciously observe your body so that you can manage your energy. 

So how can you stay in your body so that you can be at your resourceful best at getting your message across? Let me explore with you what happens and offer you some strategies.

People experience a variety of emotions prior to presenting to an audience, this can range from fear, anxiety to excitement and wonder. Our bodily processes can range from panic, paralyses, butterflies in the stomach, sweaty hands and a dry mouth to enthusiasm and passion. Your nervousness causes physiological reactions which can be attributed to the increase of adrenaline in your system. Sometimes the last place you want to be standing is on the stage. 

The trick is to calm your body from the inside. You can do this by starting with your language, say to yourself ‘stay in my body’, then image a string from the top of your head pulling you up and then running through your body grounding you to the earth. Visualise delivering your presentation to an audience that is keen, interested, smiling and reacting positively. Reinforce this positive image in your mind so you can recall it right before you are ready to present.

The following are some practical physical things you can do.

  • Smile, this sends a positive message to yourself and can send positive chemicals (emotions) through your body.

  • Drink some water, your adrenalin can cause a dry mouth, this can lead to you getting tongue-tied. Ensure you have a glass of water nearby and take a sip occasionally.

  • Practice deep breathing, your adrenalin can cause you to breath shallowly. By breathing deeply your brain will get the oxygen it needs and the slower pace will trick your body into believing you are calmer. It also helps if your voice quivers, which can occur when your breathing is irregular.

  • Speak more slowly, take a longer pause between sentences, this slower pace will calm you down, and it will also make you easier to hear, especially at the back of a large room.

  • Move around during your presentation, this helps you to burn up some of your nervous energy.

  • Think about your audience – give them what information you have…this is your time to put it across to them and shine.

For a further conversation on how to enjoy public speaking contact nicky@nickyhowe.com

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