“A little bit of stage fright, then I’m ready.”
– Faith Hill
Facing your audience can be tense experience. Nervousness and anxiety are palpable emotions for many speakers.
It doesn’t matter that you’ve presented this topic to varied audiences at numerous events. You still fear failure, worry about their reactions and dread their judgement.
There is a whole lot of advice on calming your nerves before you begin your session. But how about injecting some entertaining elements into your opening and blasting your worries away?
Graphics have an undeniable power over the audience. They feel and react the way you want them. Cool visuals can make them go wow, laugh or shock them in a good way.
A funny or mock video, animated GIF, comic strip or even text-images encourages your audience to respond and be receptive. And you get a confidence boost in the process.
Topic or audience relevancy is important for this trick to work.
Ever been to a party where practically everyone but the host were strangers? You shrug away the fear of rejection and exchange pleasantries with some friendly looking guests. And before long, you’re chatting away.
An icebreaker does the same thing for your presentation jitters. Gather some unknown statistics or unusual facts related to your business or industry and use them as openers. The positive responses from your listeners will melt your fears in no time.
Match the content with the theme – serious, surprising or amusing.
DOnning local colours
This technique parallels the icebreaker principle, but plays around with the context. Your audience, setting, or both may be unfamiliar to you. Else, you may be presenting to your team or colleagues.
Infuse local elements in your speech right at the beginning. Your audience will appreciate this attempt at building a meaningful connection with them. This, in turn, gives your enough time (2-3 minutes) to relax before you carry on.
Anything from fun facts, news stories, local events or insider jokes is fair game.
Carry props around
Have you ever attended presentations where speakers used physical visual aids, objects or models? The hidden or covered prop likely made you curious to know more.
Borrow this idea for your next speaking event. The prop can be big or small. Unique or commonplace items. Keep your audience listening and watching with renewed interest. Let their excitement act as your caffeine kick.
The key is to match anticipation with the actual reveal.
Are there entertaining elements you’ve successfully used to overcome nerves?
Care to share some golden nuggets with my readers?