A common question I'm asked: "I get really nervous (before a presentation or a meeting), how do I manage that?". It's not just anxiety they are feeling, it's also how much of that is going to show.
My answer? Actors are used to high stakes, each audition could be their next pay-check and that is performance pressure.The first impression is of utmost importance and starting strong with voice, presence and intention can influence that. Here are three techniques they use:
#1 - Stop holding your breath
Get your breathing under control. A voice that sounds more confident is because it not full of short breaths but one that is more resonant.
Close your eyes, inhale for a count 3 and exhale for a count of 5 through your mouth. Do this 3x
Even better: Sing. You not only need to inhale quickly and exhale slowly as you sing the phrases of a song, but you also need to maintain proper posture. Sing in the car, at home or find a quiet place to belt it. (By the way, my go-to song is "Need You Know'' by Lady Antebellum... I can remember the lyrics.)
#2 - Practice the first line
You must know your first line. Don't improvise it, memorise it.
Now, practice by saying it out loud.
This is the first time you are going to say these words in front of an audience, make sure it's not the first time you hear them as well.
Bonus: You immediately create confidence by engaging with eye contact and audience focus. It's the opposite of head down & reading your opening line or starting with "Um..."
#3 - See it
If you were to watch yourself on-camera delivering your spiel, what would you want to see?
A calm physical presence?
A conversational and clear tone?
Eye contact with audience?
You gotta see it to believe it!
Practice your breathing, say your first line out loud and see yourself as you would like to see THE BEST of you.
When you put these 3 techniques into play, you will feel more confident and change perceptions, your own and your audiences.