GET REAL

Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

A strong imagination may help public speaking jitters.

I’ve been presenting in front of audiences, small and large, for 25 years. And although I enjoy it, it’s not unusual for my breath to shorten and my palms to get sweaty, in those few minutes before stepping on stage or in front of a room full of people. I realize that for some, public speaking is much more stressful. For others, it may be paralyzing.

For those of you who either choose to present, or are in professional roles that call for public speaking, using your imagination may help.

In the days prior to your presentation, try visualizing regularly, a perfect presentation and audience response.

Imagine that you’re completely relaxed, in control and feeling great. Visualize right down to the details of what you’ll be wearing (which should be something you feel great in).

At first, simply visualize yourself comfortably calm, and imagine your audience approaching you afterwards to thank you for a great presentation.

While you’re visualizing, make an effort to relax your hands and fingers. You’ll be amazed at how this small action will help your entire body relax. (If you find yourself tensing during your presentation, consciously relax your hands and fingers. It may help you mentally tap into the relaxed state of mind you experienced during your visualization.)

In addition to conditioning your mental state, be sure to be well prepared. Once you’ve memorized the flow of your presentation, you can incorporate the overall flow of the presentation into your visualization.

So before your next presentation, give it a try—sit back, close your eyes, relax, and imagine the best.

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