1) Practice until you start hearing your speech in your dreams...or maybe nightmares. There is something comforting about being able to recite what you plan on saying on a treadmill, in your head, in the car, to your dog.
2) Watch what you eat the morning of...and be sure you actually do eat! I didn't want my stomach attacking me during the presentation, so I tried to eat lightly. But I also didn't want to feel lightheaded from hypoglycemia! I made sure to eat some fruit and some carbs...something, at least to tie me over. Oh, and plenty of water!!
3) Scope out the room. I actually ran into the room the morning of the presentation and practiced there. I tried to imagine what it would look like using the presentation software and seeing people in front of me. At least I knew what to expect in terms of the environment (e.g., Was there a podium? Was there room to walk around? Where there wires I needed to avoid so I don't trip and fall flat on my face? Was it bitter cold or swelteringly hot in there?)
4) Before you start, it's okay to tell your audience that this is your first time. I thought, hey, what the heck, might as well let them know so they won't expect toooo much. Well, after I told them, they gave me a supportive round of applause. They were really, really nice. I think the older nurse researchers really do want to help build and grow future nurse researchers. I was a little scared because I didn't really think there were a lot of students at this conference, but I was so happy that everyone was very supportive...My advisor said that I can say that it's my second, third, and fourth too....Not sure when the cut off is, but I think at least those few should help!
Well, that is all I can think of...to think, all this anxiety over a 15 minute presentation. To be honest, I was most worried about the questions. Luckily, I only had one question, and it wasn't too terrible. I had given my speech to my husband and asked him what he thought and what questions he had. It's always best to be prepared!