How to Reduce Tension Minutes Before Your Presentation or Speech


If you are in absolute panic just before your presentation, you are not alone. Yes, there is a way to deal with the panic. You can cope!

One of the most successful English pop singers of all times, Robbie Williams, has told how the sight of a terrified celebrity footballer David Beckham helped him to come to terms with nerves before his Live 8 performance in the summer of 2005. The 31-year-old pop star was nervous about his first live performance in the UK for two years. But he lost his nerves when he saw Beckham fretting about introducing him on stage at London’s Hyde Park. “David looked more scared and I got a perverse joy out of it.” he said on BBC One’s Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. (Source: BBC news October 2005)

Everyone, even seasoned performers, sometimes gets nervous in front of audiences. So it is not strange that you also will feel nervous. What you do about your nervousness is crucial. Most probably you have one or two of the following symptoms of nervousness. Don’t worry; you are perfectly normal. It just shows that you are human.

Symptoms of Stage fright

  • Dry mouth.
  • Tight throat.
  • Sweaty hands.
  • Cold hands.
  • Shaky hands.
  • Nausea.
  • Fast pulse.
  • Shaky knees.

What is the big idea behind physical exercises just minutes before going on stage? Concentrating for a minute or two on them would not only get rid off the discomfort, but also make you energised and thus in a better frame of mind to go and give your best.

Method for easing tension

There are a few simple exercises that can help to eliminate the tension that you are likely to feel just before your presentation. Most likely you feel tension in your neck and shoulders – and this may cause you to appear hunched. It may also cause a tightening in your larynx – producing the breathless quivering or shaky voice associated with nervousness. Tension is also tiring and consequently it may have a detrimental effect on your overall performance. First of all you need to find a quiet place, where you can bee alone for a minute or two. You can also do the exercises in a back room or backstage, where the audience can’t see you.

Exercise for Reducing Tension in neck and shoulders

To ease stress in the neck place your cupped hands at the base of your skull and press your head firmly back into them, holding the push for about 10 seconds before releasing and repeating. During this exercise keep your elbows back and try closing your eyes.

Exercise for Reducing Tension in lower back

A good way to relieve stress in the lower back is to stand with your feet shoulder width apart and reach for the sky. Point your fingers straight up as you stretch your arms above your head and keep stretching them as you feel the pressure on your back ease. Keeping you feet firmly on the ground, push your pelvis forward gently and hold yourself in this position for just a few seconds before gently relaxing back to your start position. Then you can move your hands and your hips sideways a few times. This exercise helps to ease the muscles in the neck, back and hamstrings.

Breathing exercise

The technique of alternate nostril breathing aims to balance our entire autonomic nervous system by breathing alternately through the right nostril.

First clear your nostrils by breathing in and out quickly several times in a row. Next, use the thumb to close your right nostril and your ring finger to close your left nostril alternately. Begin by inhaling through both nostrils. Then breathe out through one nostril, while blocking the other, and then switch and breathe in through the other nostril. After three complete breaths, exhale without switching sides, and do three more breaths.

After this you will surely be in a better frame of mind to go and give your best. Enjoy your presentation.

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