If you need inspiration on how to get through a bootcamp challenge, or even just need to learn a bit more on how to prepare for a presentation, creating rituals for yourself can be a powerful tool.
Thanks to my own clients’ experience, I’m able to share this with you now.
You are at work. You are busy working on a presentation that has to be delivered in one hour. You did not sleep well the night before and have been worried about this presentation for two weeks. But you could not find the time to work on this presentation until three days ago. You arrive at the meeting on time and begin to setup the PowerPoint….it is not working. You solve the technical problems but you are very nervous and anxious. Now you start your presentation. Does this sound familiar? Well, believe it or not, this is a ritual.
Muscle memory is a powerful and effective tool to manage and use your energy, and rituals are an important part of this. Rituals or routines were created for a reason; to give us security and comfort. Unfortunately, just as we can have negative muscle memories, we can have negative rituals. And it applies to public speaking, when you have a positive ritual that you perform every time you have to speak, it enhances your muscle memory and gets your butterflies in formation. Create your own routine or ritual for presentations. For example:
Two weeks before your presentation, find out about:
- Your audience
- Develop your intent
- Decide what is the best method to structure your presentation
- Create your open and close
- Rehearse the presentation and make any necessary adjustments
The Week before your presentation or speech:
- Work on your deep breathing exercises and practice tongue twisters every day
- Practice, practice, practice
- Make any revisions and alterations on your presentation
- Make notes on index cards instead of paper to avoid shaking them
- Memorize your opening and closing
- Do your vocal exercises – warm up with a poem or a tongue twister
- Record yourself delivering your speech. This is an amazing tool and so easy to do. Use a camera, Ipad, even a phone; it all works, and it gives you amazing feedback, but be gentle on yourself. It is hard to look at yourself on camera
- Get enough rest, eat a small healthy meal a few hours before your presentation and exercise
Day of Presentation:
- Get some exercise, this will reduce the stress hormone called cortisol and adrenalin in your body
- Practice your presentation during the exercise
- Do your vocal exercises and warm up with a poem or a tongue twister
The one hour before your presentation:
- Be in the room to triple check everything including reviewing your notes, checking the A/V equipment and speaking to any organizers
- Drink some non-caffeinated tea to relax your body and your throat
- Bring an mp3 player and listen to a song that relaxes you. Take a quick stroll outside. Begin to take deep and slow breaths. Close your eyes and visually walk through your presentation. Imagine the audience responding, think about the goal of your speech and concentrate on how great the presentation will be
- Speak to other presenters or audience members to feel more comfortable
- Prepare to speak. Take a small sip of air, exhale and begin to speak on the next inhalation of breath
- Wait for the audience to settle. Count to three and start your presentation!
When anxiety strikes during your presentation:
- Slow down and breathe
- Remember the audience is likely to not notice if you take a moment to control it
- If you are twitching or suffering from trembling legs, move casually or slightly lean on the podium.
- Look at people you know in the room or the friendliest audience members and make eye contact
And remember: exercise. Take a walk, run or go to the gym; this will use up some of the adrenalin in your blood stream.
Creating your own ritual will comfort, calm and give you the ability to give an amazing speech or presentation. What are some of your rituals? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.