Skip to main content

Managing performance anxiety

Be well prepared

  • Design and prepare your oral presentation well in advance.
  • Make effective presentation notes.
  • Don't plan to read your presentation (reading a presentation out loud is very dull).
  • You can have the presentation notes in hand refer to them.
  • Practice often using your notes; over prepare.
  • Practice out loud (do not practice silently in your head).
  • Know your introduction really well.
  • Check your equipment (computer, projector screen, flip chart, chalk, dry erase makers, etc.)
  • Visualize problems that may occur (What if I forget to say something important in my talk?) and plan how to deal with them. (E.g. Say, "When I was talking about XXX, I forgot to mention that...”

Use relaxation techniques 

  • Tense and relax your hand muscles while waiting your turn.
  • Practice deep breathing while waiting.
  • Laugh; try to think of something funny.
  • Repeat a positive "mantra" or calming phrase to yourself.

Think positive thoughts

  • You know more about this topic than the other students in your class.
  • The audience likes you and wants you to succeed.
  • A speech is not a performance but an act of communication; focus on the message.
  • No one will notice that you are nervous (they can't hear your heart beating!)
  • It's normal to be nervous at the beginning of a speech; get through the first 30 seconds and you'll be fine.

Role play

  • You are a world famous expert speaking on your topic in a TedTalk.
  • You are a teacher giving a lecture.
  • You are only talking to your friends and know that you can impress them with.
Back to top

© Concordia University