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5 ways to keep calm under pressure when presenting : Guest post from Julia Damassa

Today my friend Julia Damassa shares her top five tips for calming nerves under the pressure of having to deliver the perfect pitch or presentation. All these tips were tried and tested when Julia met the Dragons, Julie Meyer and Shaf Rasul in the Den, and Sky’s Angel, John Caudwell.

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Try these 5 simple steps and see how they make a big difference on the day!

1. Eat a light and nutritious breakfast or meal before the presentation.

Plan and buy in advance. A small glass of fresh orange juice and croissant with banana is perfect. Avoid dairy and limit caffeine. No alcohol for at least 24 hours before. You celebrate afterwards!

2. Loosen up your body and your voice.

Humming along in the car to your favourite song is the best way to warm up the vocal chords. Gently shaking out your hands and feet, and doing some gentle stretches is all you need to do to appear natural, confident and relaxed. A ” wooden” presentation is usually the result of a stiff body and strained voice.

A glass of water is important. Take a small sip of water as you need it, don’t gulp or down in one. If you need to clear your throat, swallow rather than cough (if you’ve avoided dairy then this shouldn’t be a problem).

3. Remember the 3P’s Planning, Preparation and Practice

You’re in control if you’re confident in the performance, so put in the work behind the scenes. Here’s a simple mantra, success is 85% preparation, 15% performance, so for example if your presentation is 30 mins, then a rough estimate is spending just under three hours on the 3P’s.

4. Looking good, feeling good, delivers the goods.

Coming across positively as a professional is all about feeling confident personally. Of course “being yourself” is about the clothes and the image, but I also find that having a small personal object in your pocket or wearing a piece of jewellery that has a special meaning, can help too.

5. Smile and meet eyes!

Non verbal communication skills that work globally and across all cultures are the smile and making eye contact. Of course as with all five tips, don’t overdo it, but a smile works wonders for the listeners and will help your voice. Keep your eye contact steady and level, and this will help your posture too.

To watch Julia in action on The Dragons’ Den go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0074rmw

For more information visit Julia at http://www.juliadamassa.com

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