Tuesday, April 14, 2009

21 Practices for Stress-Free Presentations

If you want to make presentations without excessive stress, you want to be a person who lives without stress being in control of your life.

What is stress, anyway? It's worry, anxiety, and insecurity all rolled up into one potentially life-threatening package. And, in case you haven't noticed, stress adds not one single dollar to your bank account, nor a quarter of an inch to your height. Stress repels, calm attracts.

What makes presenters like Oprah Winfrey, Seth Godin, and Christine Kane stand out from the rest? They present without stress, because they manage to live without letting stress drive their lives.

Presenting without stress is a product of a calm and authentic life. Directing your attention to being a stress-free presenter will help you experience peace in all areas of your life. It's all so interconnected.

Here are 21 practices to presenting, and living, stress-free:

1. Develop your awareness of everything that is already working so well in your life.

2. Take time to decide what your message really is...in a single sentence.

3. Start and end your day with quiet time for prayer or meditation, or simply sitting there. Envision yourself connecting with your audience.

4. Learn to say "no" more often. You know you cannot be all things to all people so decide who you want to be.

5. Never take on a new responsibility without letting go of an old one.

6. Incorporate daily laughter. Share your funnies with your audience.

7. Let go of your expectations for others. Don't think about pressuring your audience to accept your argument. Think of it as sharing what works for you.

8. Walk half an hour, every day. Light exercise before a presentation really gets your energy flowing well.

9. Eat more veggies and fruit, less bread and pasta, especially before a big talk.

10. Go to bed early at least once a week.

11. Turn off the television and radio.

12. Drink more water. Bring a bottle of water with you to your presentation, unless you've already made arrangements for someone else to have water for you.

13. Put fewer items on your daily agenda. Put fewer items in your talk. Make fewer points, but take the time to really explain those points.

14. Avoid negative people.

15. Turn off your cell phone before you enter the venue where you're going to present.

16. The night before, light a candle in your room.

17. Look for beauty around you, before, during, and after your presentation.

18. Forget trying to please everybody.

19. Remember your own personal preferences; incorporate your preferences into your presentation to really make it yours.

20. If it's not a definite "yes," it's a "no."

21. Breathe deeply, often.

Let your wisdom override your stress, one day at a time.

Or, as my friend, Andrea, suggests, you can always take a zanax and be done with it. :-)