Deliberate practice, good preparation in knowing your topic, and an authentic connection pays big dividends in reducing performance anxiety. Next time you need to present to an audience, follow these four steps:
1.Keep audience focused and interested by capturing their attention in the first 8 seconds of the speech. You want them to lean in and be curious about what you have to say–Check-out my past blog on how to accomplish this in as little as 8 seconds. https://thewick.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/
2. Be confident in your topic. Your audience already believes that you’re the expert, so don’t try to bluff. If the people you’re presenting to feel you’re unsure of your material, they’ll lose interest in your presentation.
3. Be ready for questions. Imagine questions people might ask. Construct answers before you give your speech. Either incorporate the answers into your presentation or be ready to provide them during Q&A.
4. Memorize the first minute of your presentation. You experience your greatest anxiety at the beginning of a speech. Knowing the opening of your presentation will give you a good start.
5. Start with audience interactive activity–like completing a one page inventory on the topic to be presented , such as Stress Management. Have audience members complete self-awareness and goal setting sheet. Then use the Pair-Share discussion tool where audience members share with a neighbor their reactions to the inventory and one change goal for the day. After 10 min you can introduce yourself and do a de-brief. Everyone gets engaged and you learn about the audience members level of understanding and needs.