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How to Give a Pretty Good Presentation: A Speaking Survival Guide for the Rest of Us by T. J. Walker

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Chapter 6. Revenge of the Nerves

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO HANDLE NERVES?

It makes sense to be nervous before giving a presentation. After all, most people give boring presentations; why should you be better than most? Okay, I know that sounds depressing, but I'm just being realistic. It actually is quite rational to be nervous before a presentation. But the main reason that most people get these kinds of jitters is a fear of the unknown. If you haven't actually seen yourself give your presentation, then you don't know what you are presenting to the outside world. After all, a presentation is not what is on a PowerPoint slide or a chart; it's you standing or sitting in front of people and talking. If you haven't seen yourself on video giving your talk, then the rough draft of your presentation is the one you give to your final, intended audience. And since rough drafts are—by definition—rough, it makes sense to be nervous if you are going to wing it in front of people.

HOW DO I DEAL WITH PRESPEECH JITTERS?

If I were coaching you to become a world-class, spellbinding orator, I would advise you to rehearse for days and days, and watch dozens of video rehearsals. But I want to make your life easier and save you time, so all you have to do is rehearse on video until you've seen yourself give a pretty good presentation. It doesn't have to be perfect; you don't have to generate a standing ovation, and you don't have to reduce your ums and uhs to zero. You just have to be pretty good compared ...

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