12 Ways to Get Over Your Presentation Jitters

09/07/2016 12:55 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Not all great speakers are naturally articulate. Many have learned simple tricks to calm their nerves and nail their presentation.

A. Watch Celebrity Interviews

2016-08-31-1472652885-5945583-AndrewThomas.pngGo to YouTube and search for a person you admire, celebrity or otherwise, and include the word "interview." Then watch the videos in the days leading up to the event and just before it. Take cues from their confidence and presentation. You'll adopt the visualization for yourself and sub-consciously have more confidence. - Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Doorbell

A. Stay Busy Right Beforehand

2016-08-31-1472652933-9236378-AlexandraLevit2.jpg
The day of your presentation, pack your schedule so you don't have time to sit around and think about how nervous you are. If you're at a conference, attend other sessions and events, or if you're networking, engage intently in one-on-one conversations. One caveat: leave a little wiggle room. You don't want to be late for your own remarks! - Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work

A. Work the Room

2016-08-31-1472653546-7145577-ChristopherKelly.jpg
Arrive early, and work the room a little bit to get warmed up. Conversation will naturally move toward your presentation topic, allowing you to get comfortable with the people and the setting before stepping up on stage. - Christopher Kelly, Convene

A. Keep an Achievement List Handy

2016-08-31-1472653587-6406881-NicoleMunoz.pngCreate a list of testimonials from satisfied clients and add that to projects you've completed successfully. This is your list of achievements that you can quickly scan before the presentation to remind you of what you are capable of. Review this handy achievement list anytime you need a confidence boost, not just before a big presentation or a pitch. - Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

A. Use Incantations

2016-08-31-1472653627-4688038-KristopherJones.png
I'm an introvert yet I've been public speaking for over a decade. I've even been paid (as much as ($10,000) to speak so I guess I'm fairly good at it. Preparation is key when presenting to others, but I've found strategically repeating positive statements, like "I will succeed," in my head or on paper beforehand to be very powerful. It builds confidence. - Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com

A. Watch Your Body Language

2016-08-31-1472653685-6850568-NickAkey.pngWant to feel confident? Move confidently. Amy Cuddy and her research team at Harvard uncovered five "power poses" that increase testosterone (the confidence hormone) and decrease cortisol (the stress hormone) in minutes. Before you speak, walk around with your hands firmly placed on your hips, chin up, and let your shoulders sway confidently. Let your motion dictate your emotion. - Nick Akey, MakerSquare

A. Do a Set of Pushups

2016-08-31-1472653724-4776370-JohnRampton.png
I never really thought of this until I was at a conference with a very well known speaker. Right before he got on stage, he started to do pushups. I thought it was weird so I asked him, and he said it amps him up, makes him feel stronger, and releases endorphins to help him get over his jitters. - John Rampton, Due

A. Make a Friend Before the Presentation

2016-08-31-1472653755-7354230-BrettFarmiloe.pngIt's always important in a presentation to connect with the audience. Why not connect before your presentation begins? Before keynote speeches or breakout sessions, I always have a goal: Make a friend in the audience. I go sit in the audience as if I'm an attendee, talk to someone, and then give my talk. Having a friend to connect with throughout a presentation is always a confidence booster. - Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

A. Have a Good Joke or Story

2016-08-31-1472653788-1932201-BrandonBruce.pngAlways have a good joke or story ready to roll. If you can get the audience laughing out of the gate, you'll be on your way to a great presentation. -Brandon Bruce, Cirrus Insight

A. Get Feedback From People You Trust

2016-08-31-1472653818-9264365-LeilaLewis.pngWhenever I go present at a conference, I always review and practice my presentation in front of my team. It's a good way to familiarize myself with it, but also get feedback to make any necessary changes before the actual event. I know my team will be honest, and their reassurance gives me the confidence I need. - Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

A. Practice and Fail

2016-08-31-1472653846-5914730-MichaelBurdick.pngI used to be bad at public speaking and dreaded speaking engagements -- now I'm only moderately bad. I attacked my fear by practicing, pushing myself outside my comfort zone (by actively pursuing additional speaking opportunities), and failing. This combination allowed me to experiment with my speaking style and boost my confidence. - Michael Burdick, Paro

A. Dress to Impress

2016-08-31-1472653875-9472075-AnthonyPezzotti.pngWhen deciding on a presentation outfit, it's always best to pick something professional yet comfortable. Whether it's a new suit or a new dress, your appearance is the first thing a crowd notices before you begin speaking; therefore, it's best to radiate in a professional and positive manner. - Anthony Pezzotti, Knowzo.com

 

These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.