Rather than using the 15 minutes before your presentation to stress and fret, follow these tips to prepare mentally:
• Talk yourself up. Tell yourself—out loud if possible—“I am an excellent and confident speaker!” “People love to hear me talk!” and “I have prepared an engaging, informative presentation.”
• Practice the first few minutes. When you have memorized your initial remarks, you can maintain eye contact—rather than looking at your notes—during those early critical minutes, and that engages the audience.
• Think of your presentation as a gift to your audience. You are there to share valuable information. Don’t think that you are wasting anyone’s time, and you will be less nervous.
• Have faith in your audience. To increase your confidence, believe that your listeners want you to succeed, that they see you as the expert and that they don’t know enough to point out your mistakes.
— Adapted from “13 Things You Should Do In the 15 Minutes Before a Big Presentation,” Jacquelyn Smith, Business Insider, www.businessinsider.com.