3 Ways to Eliminate (Post) Presentation Anxiety

Have you ever had PPS? 

PPS is Post Party Syndrome. My friend Kathleen coined the term to describe the experience of having a fabulous time at a party, laughing and talking easily and openly with your friends only to wake up in the middle of the night with terrible anxiety. Should I have shared that story about my high school boyfriend and the football field at midnight? Did Karen look at me funny when I shared the story about her tripping and falling on the way into that business meeting? Suddenly your playful evening has turned into a nightmare of social transgressions.

I think PPS isn’t just for parties. In fact, I recently recognized its ugly mug showing up in my psyche after a speaking gig I did for a local women’s networking group. It was a big ah-ha moment for me in dealing with speaking anxiety!

The talk I did was on how to use social media in a branded way to grow your business. The crowd was very interested in the topic (many told me they came precisely because of the topic) and I felt excellent about the information I was sharing. I co-presented with a friend/colleague and the whole thing went beautifully. The audience was engaged, responsive and I had a lot of fun (a good sign of a successful presentation.)

And yet – I woke the next morning to nagging thoughts: “Uh-oh, I never said anything about that quote I had on the Facebook slide.” and “Did I thank Lynn for her presentation well enough?” I was surprised that I was even feeling these anxious feelings considering how well the talk went… until I realized what was at play here. This was Post Presentation Anxiety – PPS! And because I had experienced the party version before, I knew it was ridiculous and unfounded and useless – so I stopped immediately.

Now I know this is a large source of anxiety for me – and for many of my clients. It’s the anxiety they draw forth AFTER a presentation that comes back up the next time they speak and amplifies their nerves ridiculously.

Here’s the antidote that I employ. I hope you find it useful to fight off any PPS (of either variety) that you might experience:

1. Refuse to Replay.  Any time visions of the event visit your mind’s TV screen, gently set them aside – even if they appear to be fun memories at first. Sometimes this leads you from happy memories to worried ones. Just don’t go there yet. You can most definitely revisit all the good feelings after your PPS danger period has passed.

2. Get Busy Maximizing the Outcome of the Event. Speaking is an extraordinary business building opportunity. It dramatically increases your expert-status, it allows you to connect with a whole room full of people and it increases your confidence (if you prepared well – which of course you did.) If you had conversations with people after your talk, connect with them via email the next day to share a thought you had since or to give them a resource you promised. This is good business, of course, but it also distracts you from PPS.

3. When PPS creeps in, remind yourself that it’s NOT about you – and move on. The opportunity to speak to a roomful of people is a gigantic privilege. The event coordinators as well as every person in that room is trusting you to provide real value for their time given. You work hard to put together information that will honor that trust, that’s why you get asked to speak. So remember that this is what it’s all about -being of service to the people in the room and giving them even more than they asked for. While it feels and looks like a performance, it really is about sharing and contributing. If you did your best at that, then feel fabulous about that. It’s all about them, not you. That can be so reassuring.

I want speaking to feel fabulous for you. It’s great for your business and good for your soul. If you refuse to allow PPS in after your next presentation, I am very confident that your subsequent presentations will be way more comfortable for you.

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