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How to improve your presentation skills -

Part 7 - Handling stage fright

According to Wikipedia, stage fright is ďthe anxiety, fear, or persistent phobia which may be aroused in an individual by the requirement to perform in front of an audience ÖĒ And letís admit it, most of us suffer from it, either with little butterflies in the stomach right before we are about to speak to feeling nauseous and unstable throughout.

If you get serious stage fright, the first step is to realize you will probably always have it. The good news is it can be controlled and even used to your advantage.

First, put those fears into perspective. Analyze the worst possible scenario and realize it probably isnít going to happen. Generally, the audience wants you to succeed and is not looking for you to fall flat on your face. So focus on them, not yourself. You have information to impart and they want or need to have it. Think about the message or talking points. If you forget something, you can always go back if necessary. Most importantly, donít try to be perfect. Try to have fun and realize that mistakes mean you are human.

There are some control techniques or exercises that can be done before a presentation.

    - Take some deep breaths and focus on a single object for thirty seconds.
    - Stretch by lifting your arms above the head, tilting your head from side to side and opening your mouth as wide as possible.
    - Push the fist of one hand into the palm of the other for ten seconds
    - Clench both fists tightly and punch downward
    - Move around

Over the years, people have come up with their own ways for dealing with stage fright. By and large, they really donít work. Never apologize for being nervous. Often an audience wonít know it until you say something and why put the idea in their heads? An extra glass of alcohol or pills is not a safe solution. And imagining the audience in their underwear can get uncomfortable and distracting.

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