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Stress through and during presentations - this is how you can get the problem under control


Irina is a sought-after product designer. But one thing bothers her: She is very afraid of presentations - with all the physical symptoms. How can she get the problem under control?

Irina, 28 years old, asks: »I work as a product designer in medical technology.

It is also part of my job to present the drafts, often in front of directors and board members.

As much as I like my job, this part is pure stress for me.

I am always excited in front of it, stand completely beside myself, have sweaty hands and fear of losing the thread and embarrassing myself.

Afterwards, I'm always completely exhausted.

How do I get rid of this fear? "

Dear Irina,

sweaty hands, a heart that threatens to jump out of your body - even professional speakers know that. You write that you are

always excited


the presentation. I suspect the fear, with all of its concomitants, subsides when you take the stage. As crazy as it sounds, welcome your fear! Because: It has its purpose.

Our body releases the stress hormone adrenaline when the brain reports danger. It was the same with our ancestors in the Stone Age and has often saved their lives. When the body switched to stress mode, they were able to decide at lightning speed whether to flee from the mammoth or to attack it (flight or fight). Hundreds of thousands of years later, the adrenaline still serves its purpose. It makes us wide awake and focused. Annoying to you before the performance, then quite helpful during the performance.

So tell yourself, “It's good I'm excited.

The tension helps me to master my presentation wide awake and focused! «The good thing: Your fear is usually not visible to others!

Have someone record you as you give a presentation.

You will be surprised and hopefully encouraged by how little of your inner fears leak out.

Therefore, do not focus on the symptoms and their elimination, but rather on the appearance that is ahead of you.

Before the presentation

  • Realize when you have successfully completed presentations.

    What did you succeed and how did you do it?

    What feedback did you receive?

    Which framework conditions did you support and how can you restore them?

    Make a note of your positive findings and incorporate them into the concrete



  • Use the crucial time of waiting before the presentation to strengthen yourself internally.

    Breathing exercises



    For example: Sit upright and relaxed.

    Take a deep breath through your nose.

    Also exhale slowly and with concentration through your nose.

    Slowly say a two-syllable word in your mind, for example "rest".

    Repeat the exercise as often as you like.

  • Power posing

    is also very effective. In doing so, you adopt an attitude in which you feel powerful. This can be done while standing or sitting. It's primarily about making yourself big and taking up space. The American social psychologist Amy Cuddy has demonstrated very impressively that people who took a power pose for two minutes had a 20 percent increase in testosterone and a 25 percent decrease in the stress hormone cortisol. Two minutes lead to those hormonal changes that alter our brains in such a way that we feel more confident and less stressed. Give it a try and watch the video of Cuddy's presentation to help!

  • Talk yourself


    to and build up with a strength-giving rate to, for example "I can and I can do it!"

  • Choose


    that make you feel safe and confident.

    This is also important in an online meeting.

    They shine from within.

    And: wear shoes even during a video conference!

    That lifts your position.

  • Formulate your

    key messages

    and write them down clearly visible.

    You can use them over and over and repeat if you need a moment to sort yourself.

  • Design the

    charts in

    such a way that they serve as a common thread.

    Don't overload them with text.

    Your ambition grows to tell everything and not to forget anything.

    That stirs up the fear of losing the thread.

  • Practice

    : In front of the mirror, with the help of smartphone recordings, in front of friends or colleagues.

During the presentation

  • Make

    eye contact

    with people you like.

  • Do not suppress your fears, but anticipate the feared situation and


    the moment very


    : What can happen in the worst case?

    Think how likely that is.

    Make plans now what you can do if it happens.

    Have an emergency kit ready for you.

    With the fear of losing the thread, for example:

    • Admit

      : “I'm just out of step.

      Give me a moment. "

    • A


      put to the audience.

    • Summarize what

      has been

      said so



    • Take a sip of


      and collect yourself.

    • The

      core message


  • Work with the presenter


    during the presentation


    This shows the current slide, the next slide, and your notes so you can focus and connect with the audience during the presentation.

  • Also, make yourself aware that you are the only person who

    knows the common



    Just pick up where you want to go.

    You are the specialist for your presentation.

  • Charge your listeners



    Remember that the directors and officers are interested in what you say and that you can satisfy that interest.

    Together you want to make a difference.

  • Find a

    feedback provider

    before the presentation


    Brief him or her on what to look for specifically, such as your voice or signs of nervousness.

And, dear Irina, remind yourself regularly: You only present in front of people.

You are no longer facing a mammoth.

Nothing will happen to you.

I wish you success!

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-10-18

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