Holy Sh*t! Sometimes public speaking can be nerve-wracking!
I just finished facilitating a training seminar with brand new content, and at first it was going off without a hitch! But then... my brain… it farted. And by the look on the faces in the room, they could smell it. Here are the quick tricks I used to regain my footing and freshen up the room.
Take a deep breath and allow yourself a second to regain your focus. It is important that you keep control of your breath throughout your entire speaking endeavor, but especially when you become nervous or lose your footing. When your audience feels that you are tense, they too will feel the tension. Taking a noticeable breath also reminds your audience to breath to relieve their own tension as well.
Smile With Your Whole Body
Smiling with your mouth is easy, but the ability to control the rest of your body language is another crucial step to help sign you off as confident. If you flub, keep your head up and shoulders down and back. If you are sitting, sit up. Uncross your legs and relax your hands. However, the most important gift that you can give to your audience is to smile with your eyes. Slightly lift your eyebrow and push as much passion and love out through your eyes as possible. Connect with your audience through eye contact and allow them to feel your eye-smile.
Refer To Your Support
It is a good idea to always support yourself with some sort of tool to keep your information organized. Whether you are using a slideshow, cue cards, or just a simple written outline, when you feel that you've lost your footing, refer to your support. Look at your projector or down at your notes. Even just a glance can get you back on your feet.
Prepare And Practice
The more prepared and practiced that you can be before you present, the better. This not only supports you when you lose your footing, but will also maintain your credibility when fielded with a difficult question. You will look like a rockstar if you can present without cue cards or notes. If you’re presenting with PowerPoint or KeyNote, be sure to acquire yourself as much as possible with the flow and builds of the deck.
If you have have time, videotape yourself and watch it back to critique yourself and make any necessary performance adjustments.