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A bit of movement is often a good idea, rather than standing stock still in the same spot for the entire presentation. When you’re moving, be aware of the environment - don’t spend too much time obscuring your visual aids, and don’t walk off into areas where not all of the audience can see you. And don’t pace endlessly just for the sake of movement.

When you’re not moving, avoid swaying on the spot, rocking back and forth on your feet, and too much shifting of your weight from one leg to the other.

Handy Hint - Dealing with nerves

Nervousness and stress are two things that are usually considered to be ‘bad’. However, without them, we’d never get anything done in life and we’d never improve. A little stress, for instance, is a good driving force to get you to do whatever you’re stressing about. Same with nervousness - a little bit of it can give you an extra edge when you do whatever it is you’re nervous about. One of the most important things you’ve got to realise is that there is nothing wrong with a little nervousness. So don’t stress about the fact that you’re nervous before a presentation!

There’s a common trick for dealing with nervousness - imagine that everyone in the room has nothing on apart from underwear. The idea is that in that situation, you’d be the last person who should be nervous or embarrassed. I’ve found that other techniques have been more effective for me, however. For instance, try to breathe slowly and deeply just before you get up to speak to try to calm your pulse a little.

If you blank out, don’t panic. Most of all, don’t worry too much about the fact that you’ve blanked out. It’s OK - it happens. Just calmly pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and check your palm cards. Then start again. Some people also have problems with ‘freezing’ - stopping dead still on the spot. You can avoid this by trying to stay moving at all times. As you progress through the presentation and your nervousness goes away, you can reduce the amount of movement - it can be distracting to the audience.

The best cures for nervousness are lots of practice and some experience. See if you can do the presentation to a smaller, more ‘friendly’ audience beforehand - perhaps a few friends or family members. By getting through the presentation with them, you’ll build some confidence to deal with the larger crowd. By practicing a lot, you build your own confidence that you know your stuff. A good idea is to also practice for bad situations - do half the presentation then pretend you’ve blanked out, and practice regaining your position and composure.

One trick is to write little notes of encouragement on your palm cards. As you glance at them you can take in the calming or encouraging words that you wrote to yourself before the presentation.

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