I am presenting at the John Wesley Powell conference this weekend. I always get really nervous when I have to talk with strangers. What if they ask me something I have no clue about? What can I do to calm down and come across as a normal human?
I can definitely relate to you on this one. I’m always worried about people thinking I don’t know what I’m talking about, so my strategy is to just never talk at all. Next time you see me out and about on campus, come up to me and try your absolute hardest to get me to talk to you. I promise, it won’t work.
In a presentation context, however, the silent treatment might not work very well. You could try another of my tactics, wearing a fake head over your real one, so even if you do say something stupid, people won’t be able to tell that it’s actually you. Or, my personal favorite method, when someone asks a question you can’t answer, laugh really loudly and say “that is the STUPIDEST question I’ve ever heard!”
Let me know how that works for you.