Presentation Panic Attack: Ask Noah
I know my field inside-out, yet when I go to speak, my brain freezes and I feel myself shutting down. I'm so scared my bosses will eventually regret their decision to promote me. Tips, please!
A: Start from a perspective of strength. You know you are good at what you do, because clearly you are now getting paid more to explain to others what you are doing!
Remember, we have limited control over how others perceive us. So, of course, we are bound to fear what we cannot control. Throughout your career, colleagues, bosses, potential clients and everyone else will form opinions of you. These are often referred to as judgments ... and yes, you make them of others as well.
More often than not, this will have nothing to do with the quality of your performance. It has more to do with their mood that day or whatever else is going on in their personal life.
Here are the tips for your presentation:
1. Do not judge every presentation as a career-defining moment. It isn't. It only feels like that at that particular time.
2. Focus on stating your ideas, not selling them. You don't need to put on a show. Let content steer the wheel for a while!
3. Take a deep, full breath, and pause for a moment between making your points. Speak slowly and clearly while you deliver each remark. You create the pace and tone; own that pace.
4. Sometimes when we know what we have to say is valuable, we get so excited to present it. That's when we mumble over our words, or state our opinion in incomplete sentences. The simpler you present the material, the better.
5. Don't define yourself by your past presentations. That was then, this is now. Quit the negative self-talk and see each opportunity to speak your mind as a singular opportunity.
6. Practice with a friend. Make sure it is someone you trust, who isn't afraid to give you his or her honest opinion on your presentation. Ask them for specifics on clarity and content.
7. Prepare a brief outline using a few key words. Having the outline near you (even if it is not used) may decrease your anxiety.