In Pt. III of this series, I am
going to address tips and tactics when the nerves kick in within
minutes of your presentation actually beginning (although every one of
these tactics also work hours and days before as well).
1. Body Movement - A few minutes before “taking the stage” – “Waggle” (lateral movement) your jaw; bend forward and dangle your arms and let them shake; shake your hands over your head; utilize simple stretches and isometric stretches (more on that later) — all of these movements, when incorporated with proper breathing, warm the body, relax the mind and calm your nerves.
2. Body Movement, Pt II -
As a former amateur boxer, nothing prepares me to speak better than
light shadow boxing a few minutes before I have to speak. I know a CEO
who (literally) does 20 pushups prior to every earnings call. Still
another prominent political figure actually “swings” a tennis racket
prior to giving a major address.* The point is, focused movement helps
even more than just for generic movement because…
3. Visualization – …it works. Professional boxers, when shadow boxing, do not throw random punches — they are visualizing an opponent and quite literally sparring with that visualization. Ballplayers do the same thing before approaching the plate. Elite athletes, musicians, actors and dancers utilize visualization regularly — Todd Hargrove has an excellent article on visualization in athletics here. Visualization, if done properly, works for speakers and presenters as well.
Stay tuned, Pt IV will focus on tools and tactics when the presentation or speech actually begins….
*If you are in a crowd or a situation where you are not by yourself immediately prior to presenting, please send an email and I will give you some pointers on how to improvise.