How to Stop Presentation Nerves

Up until the age of fifteen I was a very shy person. On a day to day basis, no problem, but any time I had to speak to more than a handful of people I literally went to pieces. I used to go several shades of red, which in turn made me much hotter. So that made me more conscious of being nervous, and that made my mouth dry, my brain scramble, and that would make me more red… And so on! You may recognise some of those symptoms in others, or yourself when speaking. Certainly I see many speakers who though charming and knowledgeable people normally, absolutely become quivering wrecks as they begin to talk to a small crowd.

The reality is it needn’t be like that, and there are things you can do to help. Some are specific steps to be taken, whilst others are merely thoughts you need to keep in your head. A combination of these will help you to control your nerves and get things under control. I hope it helps you to know that I no longer get nervous when I speak, and in fact haven’t got nervous speaking in years now. Here are some of the steps I took, and attitudes I have adopted to help me.

The first is something that people interested in Neuro-Linguistic Programming will recognise as a “re-frame”. You see, if we take our understanding of the “fear” a speaking event generates and look at it in a slightly different way, it becomes evident that nerves are physiologically identical to excitement.. That is to say in both cases the “symptoms” are the same; quickened breathing, faster metabolism, temperature fluctuation and so on. You might wonder how that helps, but I can tell you that you feel a whole lot better thinking how excited you are about speaking, rather than nervous. What’s more, the self talk we all do is more helpful too, because when we recognise being excited it feels easier to calm down, whereas as being nervous feels difficult to change.

I mentioned at the start of this article that I haven’t been nervous as a speaker in years… I will admit to being terribly excited on many occasions!

The second knack is to focus on what is overlooked by many people, and that is the generally low standard of many speakers. You see, whilst it’s better to aim to be amazing, you don’t actually need to be that outstanding… Being a little better than average is probably going to do the trick. I reiterate I am not advocating a mediocre speech. I am merely pointing out that because the general standard is so low, you need only focus on being good enough. As you do this, and keep doing this your confidence increases anyway and that naturally helps with presentation nerves.

Which conveniently brings me to the next point. Fact is, many things you do only occasionally will leave you a little nervous… If they are new you are never sure about what to do. Speaking is the same, and the more of it you do the easier you realise it is. You can literally “fake it till you make it” with confidence. By speaking often, and telling yourself you are excited and looking forward to speaking… Guess what? Your brain begins to believe you… In turn helping you to be more confident, and so giving a better performance and so on. I know that sounds almost too good to be true-I also know it works because it was one of the techniques I used to grow in confidence as a speaker. And believe me, I literally used to shake, visibly, my whole body…

Which brings me to how do you cope with getting the shakes. Once it starts it’s difficult to get rid of. Well, you have to acknowledge it may happen, and if it does, that’s ok. Many people get nerves, and many people get a little shaky on stage. Unfortunately many of those same people make it worse by drawing attention to how nervous they are. The best strategy is to focus on what I have mentioned here, and on no account mention your nerves.

And when it comes to not mentioning your nerves, never ever mention being nervous at the start of your speech. You have almost certainly heard people say how nervous they are as they start to speak, or asking the audience to “bear with them” and so on. People do these things for a number of reasons, but unfortunately it boils down to a bad idea-highlighting the one thing you don’t want people to know. And it gets worse, because once people know you are nervous they start noticing every little thing. And when they notice, guess what? Yes… You get more nervous…! Don’t mention being nervous.

You are going to need to have a glass of water nearby, or a bottle if that suits the event better. Don’t rely on it being provided for you, and don’t worry if no one else had water. You want to overcome presentation nerves, so trust me here and take some water with you. You may never even take a single sip, but if you don’t have the water you get that strange dry mouth thing, that ends up with loud clicking noises when you try to speak. And if your speech is amplified with a microphone, then everyone gets to hear it too. Take water and when you need it, it’s there. Water also gives you the perfect excuse to just pause now and again and calm yourself (excited, remember?)

Prepare your beginning really well. This is one part of the speech that many people neglect, which is a shame because it’s at the start that people are really likely to retain key ideas and impressions of your speech. Make sure you know what you are saying and why. If humour works for you, great, make use of it. If you like order and calm, explain something. If you need to explain why you are there, that’s good too. Just make sure your opening minute is really strong. A strong opening allows you to stroll out with a certain confidence that someone shuffling papers, wishing they had water and apologising for being so nervous will never have.

Many people believe they can help their nerves by speaking in front of a mirror. This is alright, but not great, because a mirror is not what your audience sees or hears. If you want to do this (and this is quite a hardcore technique, but it works) you need to film yourself. Set your camera up to film what the audience sees. This means don’t speak to the camera directly, rather set it back so it captures you talking to a room. Film yourself. Now watch it back. I suggest you watch it back alone, unless you love hiding behind your fingers in shame! Now when you watch this, get over your accent, your taste in clothes, your body shape, that haircut, your inelegant posturing and so on. Honestly, everyone is the same when they see themselves. Instead focus on what you like about what you are doing. You will see moments that work, and you will hear snippets that sound great. Keep these and work on the rest. The more you do this process, the more you will begin to separate yourself from your performance, and at this point getting rid of your presentation nerves will seem easier and easier.

The final tip I have for you is to affect a certain swagger. Your favourite sportsperson has it. And rock start. Movie stars too. So even if you are feeling “excited”, and your heart is racing, and you make a few mistakes… So what? Seriously. Live presentations mean an element of performance. A level of energy is great and so much more engaging that someone stood there boring everyone silly by monotonously reading from their slides. And even if you are nervous, and even if some people in the audience don’t like it you have to keep in your mind that you are the one speaking, giving the presentation. At least you had the nerves to go for it and deliver your speech. And that REALLY helps with confidence I can tell you!

Weight Loss and Life Occur in the Present

Weight Loss and Life Occur in the Present

Someone, I am not quite sure of the author, once said, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift – that is why we call it the present.” Anyone who has ever lost weight has been faced with that moment where he or she was forced to make a decision, to move through an obstacle, to conquer a fear. To lose weight you must live in the present.

I met a man today. The man was about my height but he weighed perhaps close to 400 pounds. After we engaged in small talk for several moments, I asked him whether we was ready to change his life and his weight. He wasn’t. Maybe I wasn’t the one to deliver the message to this man, perhaps mine was not even the correct message for him. Perhaps the time was not perfect for him.

How much of your life is lost either dwelling on the past or worrying about the future? When your thoughts are imprisoned by the past or fearful of the future you miss out on one of life’s greatest gifts: that which is happening today and indeed this very moment.

When your mind (and therefore your energy) is focused on yesterday or tomorrow, your involvement in the present moment is impoverished and today passes you by as a squandered opportunity or an unnoticed stranger.
How often have you felt yourself being pulled back by yesterday? “I’ll never be able to lose weight. I’ve always struggled with my weight. I want to change but I’m scared to move on,” I have said all of these things to myself. Perhaps you have said those same things to yourself. Perhaps the man I spoke with today said those very things to himself. Perhaps not.

The reality is that when you are hoping and praying your weight will change by grasping onto what was or what may be some day – your ability to move forward will be confined by your inability to make the most of today. Throw off the shackles of fear, indecisiveness, uncertainty and free yourself for the life that awaits you.

The key is putting your effort into today. Putting your effort into the present moment. By doing so, you will reap the rewards of seeing the world in a fundamentally new and fresh way. Awareness of the present will provide you with a feeling of control of your life. You must feel that you have some degree of control over your life before you can really deal with your weight.

We all enjoy reminiscing about the past and planning for the future, but after you’ve done so, let these things go. Today is what really matters, irrespective of how imperfect it might seem. It is your attitude, your intention, your focus towards today that counts.

You may have control over very little today but one thing is for certain – you can choose pay close attention to the present. For example, the next time a stranger approaches you and strikes up a conversation quell the storm by reining in your mind and your actions to that moment, the present. Find your way back to the perfect present and the world will open up to you with all of today’s wonderful opportunities.

Oh, by the way, yesterday, I met another man while standing in line. He was morbidly obese. We made small talk, I asked him the question, “Is today the day you change your life and your weight?” He said, “Yes.”

Simple Tips in Office Supplies to Create Killer Presentations

Presentations are what make the business world move. Presentations to the new client to make that big sell, presentations to your boss to convince him you deserve that raise, presentations to your company to sell your new idea. No matter what the task at hand, most likely a presentation will be a key part of accomplishing your goals.

That’s why it is so important to have the right office supplies – the right presentation products – to ensure a successful meeting, sales pitch and killer presentation. The first thing to consider when preparing your presentation is who is your audience. This will help determine what type of office supplies you will need to produce your presentation before the actual meeting. For example:

Meeting with your boss – many times, a simple staple or paper clip to bind the presentation will do.

Company meeting – a bound presentation using a report cover or portfolio is the minimum. Many times it’s best to use a binding machine and standard binding covers and spines to produce a professional looking document.

Big sales meeting – here you definitely want to use a bound document using a binding machine. High quality premium binding covers and binding spines translate an air of professionalism and quality in your organization to help get your presentation noticed and stand out from the crowd.

Basic staplers and paper clips are simple. For binding machines and supplies, we recommend using either GBC brand or Fellowes binding machines and supplies. Both offer a variety of manual and electric machines and punches for your every need. For that ultra professional look, we recommend using the ProClick line from GBC, or possibly a wire binding machine that has an even more finished look.

Now it’s time to think about the presentation itself. If the meeting is in your facility, you will need a large size dry erase board – we recommend the Quartet brand – and plenty of dry erase markers from Sanford. Sometimes, a board on the wall doesn’t work for an organization and they want a more mobile solution. This calls for portable easels with a dry erase surface for taking notes, also from Quartet.

Lastly, you may need multiple devices to make your presentation go smoothly. A Kensington laser pointer with built in ability to click through your presentation is a nice touch. Using high quality 3M projection screens and projectors also ensures your technology will be up to speed.

Office superstores and online office products stores typically carry the quality kinds of presentation products you need. They feature brands you can trust like Avery, ACCO, 3M, GBC, Quartet and Fellowes. Many offer next day delivery, and also carry a complete line of basic office supplies from ink and toner and paper to office binders and filing supplies. In addition, today’s new independent online office supply stores have full ranges of products for everything you need in the office today:

Office Technology Products like Logitech keyboards, Kensington mice, Hewlett Packard printers, Brother copiers and faxes and Fellowes shredders.

Office Furniture like HON desks, Innovera chairs, Global bookcases, Safco storage cabinets and Iceberg folding tables.

Janitorial Supplies, Beverages and Snacks like coffee servers, paper plates and utensils, candy, paper towels and tea bags.

Cleaning Supplies like bathroom and kitchen cleaners, mops, brooms, soap and facial tissue.

So remember, to make the best first impression possible, you need presentation products that fit the audience you are meeting with. Use these helpful tips for smooth sailing and successful business presentations.