Manage Your Nerves in Corporate Training Programs
Even the most experienced trainers in the world get nervous before they have to present. As such, it is completely normal for you to feel nervous, too. Here are a few things that you can do to help you manage that nervousness:
1. Prepare and Rehearse: It is critical for you to prepare your material thoroughly and rehearse it. I know a lot of people who are good at “winging it”; however, when I see them present, it looks like a really good, “winged” presentation. Is that what you want to convey to your audience? Also, keep in mind that you shouldn’t try to memorize your material. Rehearse it to a point where you feel comfortable with it.
2. Set Up in Advance: To the extent possible, try to set up the classroom and the materials the night before your session. It can be very nerve-wracking to be setting up your room while the participants are arriving. You’ll worry about both meeting the participants and getting things ready. Cut back the worry by setting up in advance.
3. Get There Early: In addition to setting up the night before, you should try to arrive early on the day of the session. If this is the first day of a multi-day session, I usually encourage trainers to arrive about one hour before the session begins. (You will need to arrive even earlier if you were unable to set up the room in advance.) On subsequent days, you should be there at least 30 minutes before the session begins. This extra time will help you calm your nerves a bit before the participants arrive.
4. Meet and Greet: What should you be doing for that hour before the session? You should not be setting up. That should have been done in advance. Instead, you should be meeting and greeting the participants when they arrive. Take some time to introduce yourself and find out who the participants are. In many ways, they could be just as nervous as you on the first day. Some simple greetings can make you all seem less like strangers when the program begins.
5. Start with the Participants: Finally, another technique that I like to use to take the pressure off me is getting the participants involved and active as early as possible. Begin with some kind of activity that gets the participants working right away (e.g., an icebreaker, team introductions, a group puzzle or challenge, etc.). Having the participants start before you start could help you ease into your content with less anxiety.