9 things to do in the 15 minutes before a presentation

In 15 minutes you’ll be giving a big, important presentation.

Your heart is racing, your mouth is dry, and your palms are damp. You’re starting to panic.

It’s completely normal to feel nervous in the moments leading up to a big speech or presentation.

Darlene Price, president, of Well Said, Inc. and author of “Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results,” tells Business Insider that instead of trying to lose the butterflies, you should aim to leverage them. “The adrenaline surge can fuel your body with the energy and enthusiasm necessary for a great performance,” she explains.

Whether you’re stepping to the front of the room to speak to just a few people, or making a grand entrance in a ballroom to address thousands, here are a few ways to effectively use the 15 minutes before you go up to prepare your body and mind for peak performance:

Use the restroom.

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When you're nervous, you may feel like you 'have to go.' So, plan ahead and use the restroom before you take the stage.

Check yourself out in the mirror.

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There's nothing worse than wondering, 'Do I have something in my teeth?' as you start talking to the audience.

Check out the meeting room and the audiovisual set-up

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Get to the room early to check out the space and test the equipment so there are no surprises once you start.

Take several deep belly breaths.

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Since anxiety tightens the muscles in the chest and throat, it's important to diminish that restricting effect with deep inhalations, Price explains.

Focus on positive thoughts and images.

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You can decrease stress and increase a sense of well being and control by holding positive thoughts and images in your mind.

Exercise lightly.

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To rid your body of excess energy and send oxygen to the brain, do some light stretching or take a brisk walk a few minutes before you begin.

Assume a standing position in the five minutes prior to speaking.

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Sitting is motionless, passive, and inactive. By standing, you summon energy ahead of time, giving your body a chance to warm up.

Avoid your phone.

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Checking your phone may seem like a good distraction, but if you see, hear, or read something upsetting, for example, it might throw you off.

Focus on giving.

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'As a speaker, think about your presentation as a gift to the audience,' Price says. The mental attitude of giving takes your mind off of yourself and puts the focus on helping others.

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