To beat nerves, practice the first minute of your presentation three times as much as the rest. If you practice the entire thing five times, practice the first minute 15 times.
It’s critical to get off to a strong start. You’re nervous. And if you stumble at the beginning, you’re going to go downhill from there. But if you do well at the beginning, you’re going to relax. You’ll gain momentum and you’ll do fine.
A year or so ago, I was about to give a speech to a Rotary Club. And for some reason I was particularly nervous. But I knew my first line: “I’d like to start with a statistic that comes from a researcher at UCLA. . . ” I must have said that line 20 times in my head as I waited for my turn to talk.
I stood up. My heart was pounding. But I got that first line out perfectly.
The speech went great.
Practice the first minute over and over. It’ll get you off to a strong start. And you’ll overcome your nerves.