A healthy dose of presentation anxiety

Norah Charles Written by Norah Charles · 2 min read >

There’s a reason Gene asks us to only list the things we do well, and there’s a reason he always says…’ you did so many things right…’ But you never know…

Presentation anxiety is a real thing, you know. I’m still intrigued as to why I’m completely at ease gisting with Tonia, Adim, Zinny, Taiwo, Lilian, or Rashcash, and then become agitated when I’m called to stand in front of the entire class, which includes the same folks I’m comfortable yarning with. Gene must guide me in identifying the nature of this problem o!

So, I recently read somewhere that no matter how nervous a speaker is, the majority of the audience is unaware that the speaker is nervous – lol, ermmmm, not entirely true, MBA20 could easily tell who and who was nervous from the just concluded presentation exercise. Some communication experts have even argued that feeling nervous is natural because a complete lack of anxiety may communicate apathy, insensitivity, and a lack of responsibility to the audience – please, how does my nervousness equate to audience sensitivity??

Schools of thought have expressed these views on the ‘4 P’s of presentation’ for managing anxiety –

‘Planning’ informs that you establish what you want to achieve or what you want your audience to do as a result of your presentation.

‘Preparation‘ states that you must establish a central idea or concept that will guide you and ensure that your content is coherent.

Practicing’ means rehearsing until you are comfortable with it and can present it with ease. Nervousness will creep in if you do not practice well.

Finally, ‘Presentation’ – which is the delivery of your information to the audience, integrating abilities such as eye contact, gestures, movement, and voice modulation to establish a connection with them.

Aren’t you surprised that even the most experienced presenters get nervous, despite all of these strategies?

Eweeee, who am I to not be nervous?

Many books recommend practicing, knowing your audience, and knowing your material to overcome stage fear. Omo, I’ve done all they’ve suggested, yet I still get shaky hands, dry lips, and stomach upset before a presentation.

Who go epp me, bayi?

However, I’ve wonder if people would still be anxious if they were to talk about a topic that fascinates them. I believe that if your topic is one that you are passionate about, you will feel more at ease in front of an audience, which is why it is safe to say that the root of presentation anxiety stems from a fear of failure and judgment.

Is it possible to fail at something you’re accustomed to?

Sadly, we will not always have the opportunity to speak about what we know, therefore we must make every effort to comprehend the content of our message/information – especially when your audience may be well-versed in the topic. It is also necessary to put ourselves aside for the time being and concentrate on the message — forget about what you’re wearing, forget about the inevitable criticism. If you’re not good at it, that’s fine; it’s okay to be bad at something. It is simply not acceptable to make no effort to learn it. Then, in good faith, accept that criticism, learn, unlearn, relearn, and try again – this is the process by which TED Speakers are formed…*winks*

There’s a reason Gene asks us to only list the things we do well, and there’s a reason he always says…’ you did so many things right…’ But you never know…

Written by Norah Charles
When I call someone and they don't call back, I automatically assume that they fainted from excitement... Yup, I'm that awesome! Profile

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