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Headlights or spotlights?

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Presenting. For many, it is an absolute horror. Research shows that it is the 3rd greatest fear. We're more afraid of death, accidents happening and abandonment, but less afraid of terrorism. Yet life requires you to stand in front of the group more than once.

You feel your armpits sloshing, your heart rate going through the ceiling and your stomach going in knots. And when you go on stage (or are pushed) the spotlights feel like headlights that trap you like a frozen rabbit.

You look jealously at someone else who apparently enjoys every moment on stage and likes to be caught in the spotlight. Does he or she feel no fear? And why not?

The physical signs of fear and excitement are very similar. Your body warming up, a high heart rate and even an upset stomach. But what can cause a blockage for the 'fear-hearted' is an incentive for others to perform to their maximum potential.

How can you present with more confidence?

1) Accept your feeling. Don't fight it. Know that (almost) everyone finds it exciting and try to make peace with your body. Try to find some peace before you present. And once you are there, breathe in and out and try to ground yourself in your new environment.

2) Make sure you are well prepared. Not only in terms of content but also in terms of logistics. You can remove a lot of stress in advance by knowing where you need to be, what time, who will pick you up, which cords you need to take with you, how the sound is arranged, etc.

3) Change your mindset. Realize that your knowledge, insights and feelings are unique. And you will present this to the audience in an exciting, entertaining way. You give them a present that you slowly unwrap for them. Once you realize that you will see that it becomes easier.

4) Practice! It is very important that you have a good understanding of all the instruments you can use in a presentation. And that you use what works best for you. Every person is unique. Show yourself. Practice and practice again.

Do you also want to become more confident with public speaking? Would you like to get rid of your fear of public speaking or are you looking for more tips to improve your presentation skills? Click here to see which workshops and courses you can follow.

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