Dealing with Nerves

  • A well-organized, practiced talk will almost always go well. If you draw a blank, then looking at your slides will help you get back on track.
  • Taking a deep breath will calm you down. 
  • Slow down. It's okay to pause for a few seconds between points and between slides; a second or two of silence between points is noticeable only to you, but if you are talking a mile a minute everyone will notice.
  • Find a friendly face in the audience and smile.
  • If you're afraid that you'll forget that elegant transition between slides 11 and 12, bring some notes to jog your memory.
  • Anticipate the kinds of questions you're likely to get. Think about how you would answer them.  
  • It's okay to say "I don't know" or better yet "gee, I hadn't thought about that, but one possible approach would be to..."  
  • Remember, you did the research.  You're the expert.
  • Concentrate on the message.  Forget about the messenger (you).
  • Know that even the best presenters get a little nervous.  It's normal.