How to prepare for a presentation

Photo of the author: Santiago Feijoo

Santiago Feijoo


2 min read.

1. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

Rehearse in front of colleagues, friends, or a mirror – always aloud. Make sure you spend plenty of time practicing your presentation; it will make you feel much more relaxed if you know your material.

2. Shake Your Body

The first exercise is to release any tension. Start shaking and moving every single part of your body to loosen yourself. Shake your arms, rotate your shoulders, kick your legs, move your feet—focus on every single limb. If you can let yourself jump around and make weird sounds while shaking, that’s even better. The more physically active you can be, the more you’ll clear your mind and release stress.

If anyone sees you, they should think that the devil has taken control of you.

3. Breathe From Your Belly

The second exercise is to calm your nerves and ground your breath.

Breathe in through your nose. While breathing in, let your belly expand. Make sure your chest is NOT expanding, remaining as still as possible.

Then, breathe out slowly through your mouth, “pursing” your lips together as if you were going to whistle (or make the sound of a balloon losing air). While breathing out, let your belly move inwards.

After breathing 5-10 times, you should feel significantly more grounded, present, and relaxed.

4. Remember Past Successes

The third exercise helps you get into a confident state of mind.

Close your eyes for 2-3 minutes and remember one or two events in your life where you felt confident or self-assured. Imagine yourself in that situation and relive the event in as much detail as possible:

  • What did you do at that moment?
  • How did it feel when you made it happen?
  • How did others react?

Go deep in the emotions here. The more you feel the sentiment from the moment, the more confident you’ll feel. By picturing it in as much detail as possible, you’ll feel confident and ready to “crush” your upcoming meeting.

5. Vocal Exercises

You need a place where you don’t disturb anyone, e.g., at home or in your car.

Vocal exercises help you warm up your vocal cords, give your voice more resonance, and help you articulate better.

Here are a few types of vocal exercises you can do:

  • Yawn-sigh: Yawn (take in air) with your mouth closed. Then, exhale as if you are sighing, making that “awwwww” sound.
  • Lip rolls: Imagine a little child playing with a toy car, imitating the sound of a motor: “Brr!” Make that sound while rolling your lips.
  • Vocal sirens: Make an “oooo” sound and gradually go from the lowest note of your range to the highest and back down, like a siren for an emergency vehicle.

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