What is the most difficult part of a presentation?
Next, I’m not only going to tell you what it is, but I’ll share 5 tips to beat it.
FIA’S 5-MINUTE PRE-PRENSTATION STRESS REDUCTION ROUTINE
Hey everyone, I’m Fia Fasbinder. Welcome to the Moxie Talk blog where we help you find your voice, share your message, and lead with confidence.
Anybody that’s given a presentation knows that the most difficult part is the 5-minutes leading up to your presentation and the first 5 minutes of your presentation.
That’s when we’re most likely to be in fight-or-flight, most likely to be nervous, and most likely to have our hearts racing.
What if I told you that you could do a warm-up before your presentation that would help make sure you’re not in fight-or-flight and, instead, you’re in what we call rest and digest, which is the calmest, most focused place to start a presentation?
- Calm yourself
- Have less anxiety
It’s possible! There is a pre-presentation warm-up that I teach to my TEDx speakers. We do this backstage before they do their TED talks and I guarantee this will help you prior to your presentation.
There are 4 components to any good pre-presentation warm-up and those components are
- Breath work
- Physical work, and
- Vocal work
We’re going to go through each of those steps and then we’re going to put them in an order that you can use for a pre-presentation warm-up.
COMPONENT 1: MINDSET
The first is mindset. It’s really important to think about how you talk to yourself before a presentation. Now an easy way to put yourself in the right headspace or mindset is to come up with a mantra that you believe—a mantra that makes you feel powerful and makes you feel confident. Therefore, give yourself a mantra that you can say to yourself before a presentation.
The other great mindset trick is visualization. If you can visualize yourself going out there and giving a successful presentation, you can really trick your brain into thinking you’ve actually given a successful presentation. Now, this is a really powerful tool that’s used by the most elite athletes and performers because they know that visualization works.
So give yourself a mantra and visualize your success and the more detailed you can get with your visualization the better.
COMPONENT 2: BREATHWORK
The next is breathwork. How you breathe prior to your presentation can really either set you up for success or make sure that you are nervous on stage. When we take deep, slow, steady breaths into our diaphragm, we put ourselves in a calm and grounded state of mind.
If we’re taking rapid, shallow, chest breaths like we do when we’re stressed out, you’re sending messages to your brain that there’s a threat and it should be in fight-or-flight. So the key to your breath work is not one big deep breath but instead slow, steady, rhythmic breaths.
What you want to do is:
- Inhale for a count of 4
- Hold for a count of 4
- Exhale for a count of 6
When you’re inhaling, you should do what I call dragon breath because you should look like a dragon flaring your nostrils. And when you breathe out, you should pretend you’re blowing out a candle.
So you’re gonna do the inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 6, and do that at least 4 times. That breathwork is really key to sending messages to your brain that it’s cool, you’ve got this, and you’re going to give a confident presentation.
COMPONENT 3: PHYSICAL WORK
Next is the physical. If you think about it your only way to convey a message to your audience is
- your body and
- your voice.
That’s your speaker’s instrument. It’s really important to warm up your body. Warming up your body helps you get out those pre-presentation jitters.
Let’s face it, when that adrenaline hits our bloodstream, we’re meant to fight or to flee, and instead, in a presentation, we’re just stuck there. That’s why a lot of people shake before a presentation because their adrenaline is coursing through their body.
So you can get a lot of that out before your presentation simply by shaking.
Shake it Out!
Shake your arms, shake your legs, shake your entire body like there are fire ants on it! Shake all that excess adrenaline out of your body.
Some of my clients will even do jumping jacks. Do something physical to let all that excess energy out before your presentation.
Equally important to getting that energy out of your body, part of your warm-up is relaxing your body.
The flipside of having too much energy is people that look like Frankenstein on stage. We’ve all seen people giving presentations where they’re super stiff and their shoulders are up by their ears. So if that is you as a speaker, it’s probably more important for you to go through a relaxation warm-up.
This lets your body relax so you can have fluid movements on stage. So roll your head around, roll your shoulders around, roll the top half of your body, and do some stretching.
For those of you that get stiff on stage, it’s really important to really stretch out and relax your body.
COMPONENT 3: VOCAL WORK
Last but not least, is our voices. So we talked about how to use our bodies and our body warm-up, now for a vocal warm-up.
Any good vocal warm-up has 2 components. It has
The reason you do this is less for stress reduction and more to speak clearly, confidently, enunciate, and most importantly, not trip over your words in your presentation.
So for the stretching part of your warm-up, you can do a really easy thing. imagine you’re chewing a lot of bubble gum and really stretch out your mouth. You can also smile and frown—really, really big smile and moon-style frown.
For strengthening, you might want to do this: Sounds crazy but this is something we do backstage at TED events, and you can see actors doing this if you went backstage too which is to blow through your lips like a horse. This stretches out your mouth, it strengthens it and you’re ready to speak clearly, confidently, and without tripping over your words.
Now we’ve gone through all 4 components
- Breath work
- Physical work
- Vocal work
That’s not necessarily the order we do them in. I’m going to tell you the order that I do them in with my TED speakers. You might want to change it up since there is no correct order. It’s whatever works for you.
Here’s what we do:
We first close our eyes and come to the present moment. Stop thinking about what’s happening before you or what’s happening later in the day and really just come to the present moment by closing your eyes and listening to the sounds, being really present in that room. Then start your deep breathing, inhaling for a count of 4, holding for a count of 4, and exhaling for a count of 6.
While you’re doing that deep breathing, I want you to imagine your body filling up with energy and light and confidence and passion and joy, and when you’re exhaling, really exhale out any of that doubt, any of that negativity, any of that nervousness and really picture it—feel your body filling up with confidence and exhaling all that doubt. So you’re breathing and you’re imagining at the same time.
Then go into a quick visualization of you giving a successful presentation and remember the more detailed you are, the better your visualization. So you’ve done a little bit of mindset work, you’ve done a little bit of breathing, and then you’re going to go into the physical.
Do that shaking, shake out all that excess energy—I like to call this getting your chi flowing—and then make sure you relax as well. Do your relaxation, do your vocal warm-up so you can speak clearly. Last but not least, throw your hands up in the air in a power pose and say your mantra.
There you have it—a pre-presentation warm-up that’s guaranteed to work.
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