Being nervous before and during a presentation is natural and should be considered a good thing--a little adrenalin often helps you perform better because it sharpens your senses and self-awareness. However, if it is not held in check, nervousness can also undermine your confidence and be a distraction to you and your audience. As a consequence, the audience focuses on you being nervous rather than the content of your presentation.
Keep the following strategies in mind to help control your nervousness:
Here are some things to consider doing to help ensure that nervousness does not become a problem during your presentation:
Bailey, Jessica. Extemporaneous Speaking: Engaging with Current Events. Ripon, WI: National Forensic League, 2013; Bodie, Graham D. “A Racing Heart, Rattling Knees, and Ruminative Thoughts: Defining, Explaining, and Treating Public Speaking Anxiety.” Communication Education 59 (2010): 70-105; Dwyer, Karen Kangas and Marlina M. Davidson. “Is Public Speaking Really More Feared Than Death?” Communication Research Reports 29 (2012): 99-107; Giving an Oral Presentation. Academic Skills Centre. University of Canberra; Peoples, Deborah Carter. Guidelines for Oral Presentations. Ohio Wesleyan University Libraries; Perret, Nellie. Oral Presentations. The Lab Report. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Shafer, Sherri. “Building Public Speaking Skills across the Curriculum.” The International Journal of Learning 17 (2010): 279-284.
Don't Apologize for Being Nervous!
Most of the time your nervousness will not show. If you don't say anything about it, nobody will notice. If you mention your nervousness or apologize for any problems you think you have with your presentation, you'll only be calling attention to it. Had you remained silent, your listeners may not have noticed at all.