Home   |    Login  

Stress management for presentations and interviews

What is performance anxiety?

Many people feel nervous when speaking publicly, either to a room of course peers, conference delegates or an interview panel. This is sometimes referred to as performance anxiety.

Performance anxiety, however, is not necessarily harmful; a slightly increased anxiety level can motivate you to do the work needed so that you are effectively prepared for the event: it can make you more alert and energised. However, should your anxiety levels and nerves become too great, difficulties can occur, which may impair your ability to prepare effectively for and perform during the event.


What causes it?

Performance anxiety and nerves can be caused by many factors which may include:

  • worrying about past performance during presentations or interviews;
  • how you will compare with your friends or other students;
  • any negative consequences if you don't do as well as you would like;
  • the reaction of others to your work.

Lack of preparation as indicated by:

  • hurriedly writing the presentation at the last minute;
  • not rehearsing and practising your speech;
  • not thinking in advance about the kinds of questions the interviewer might ask.

You may not be able to identify a particular cause, you may just be aware that you typically experience nerves or anxiety at the prospect of a presentation or interview.


What happens when you are nervous?

When you experience nerves, anxiety or stress about an event, certain physical reactions happen automatically. If you recall a time when you were interviewed or made a presentation you may have noticed that you reacted in some of the following ways:

  • your voice trembled;
  • you had sweaty palms;
  • you experienced shortness of breath;
  • your heartbeat accelerated;
  • you had butterflies or an upset stomach;
  • you experienced a generalised feeling of fear.

These reactions are driven by the production of hormones and equip us to fight or escape from situations that are dangerous or threatening. This is known as the fight or flight response; your body is alert, ready for action and is preparing itself to cope with the situation. Once the threatening event is over, your body will gradually return to normal. Although this process is designed to assist you during potentially threatening situations, it can cause difficulties, particularly if your level of anxiety is too great and/or it occurs for a long time period.


What are the signs of performance anxiety?

There is a range of signs which may indicate that you are experiencing performance anxiety and these signs could begin just before your presentation or interview, hours or days before it, or even at the moment you find out about it. Signs can even persist throughout your presentation or interview.

The signs could include negative thoughts such as 'I'll never manage it'; 'It will be a disaster'; 'I'm no good at this'. Having thoughts of this kind can distort your perception of the event and create a cycle whereby the more negatively you think about it, the more stressed and anxious you become, which in turn can increase your negative thoughts about it and so on.

Holding negative thoughts can also have a big impact on your feelings; you may be aware of feeling scared about the event or you may feel generally irritable but not be sure why. You may also observe behavioural changes, such as putting off thinking about and planning for the presentation or interview, or alternatively being unable to stop thinking about and planning for it. You may also experience physical changes, such as experiencing headaches, changes in your appetite or developing sleeping difficulties.


Strategies to help you deal with performance anxiety

The strategies outlined below offer some simple steps that you can take to try to control your level of performance anxiety. However, for them to be effective you need to be active in implementing them prior to and during the event.


1. Develop positive thinking and visualisation skills

As described previously, having negative thoughts is one indicator that you may be experiencing performance anxiety. It is useful, therefore, to be aware of some of the common negative thought patterns so that you can try to replace them with positive thoughts.

Negative thought Positive replacement
'It will be a disaster.' 'I will aim to do the best I can.'
'I never do any good at this kind of thing, it's bound to go horribly wrong.' 'Just because I had a problem with this is in the past does not mean that things are bound to go wrong.'
'They won't like me.' 'They like what they have read on my application form/CV otherwise they would not be interviewing me.'
'They are looking for ways of catching me out.' 'They are giving me an opportunity to demonstrate my knowledge of something that I have worked hard to understand.'
'They will ask me about an item on my application form that is a weakness of mine.' 'If it had been a big problem they would not have short listed me for interview. How can I talk about it in the most positive way?'
'I will fail my degree and never get the career of my choice if I don't do well in this presentation.' 'The marks for this presentation are only a small percentage of my overall degree. If I don't do as well as I would like there will be other opportunities to improve my marks.' 

Try to become aware if you are having negative thoughts and, if so, think of a positive replacement for them (you could consider asking your friends to help you with this).

It may also be useful to visualise yourself successfully completing the task. Imagine yourself coming out of the interview or presentation and moving on to other things in your life beyond the anxiety provoking experience. Plan a treat or social event afterwards that is not dependent upon the outcome.

Using these processes will help you to keep a sense of perspective about the event and stop things from spiralling out of control. Focus on the present and what you can do now to deal with the situation, rather than dwelling on what you should have done or how similar events went in the past.


2. Plan and practise your presentation carefully

Planning and practising for your presentation or interview carefully can have a number of beneficial effects on your anxiety levels, including helping you to feel more confident and in control prior to the event. The better prepared you are and the more you know your material, the more likely you will be to recall it when you are feeling nervous or stressed.

When you are rehearsing for your interview or presentation, picture yourself as if you are in front of your audience/interview panel and rehearse out loud. If possible, do this in front of some friends who could give you constructive feedback about your verbal and non-verbal communication, and your time-keeping. If you do not want a friend to watch you, consider making an audio or video tape of yourself. You can then listen or watch the tape and provide your own feedback. Identify at least five positive things about your skills, as well as areas for further development.

Preparing for questions at the end of a presentation or during an interview may also help to lower your anxiety levels. Read over your presentation notes or application form critically to identify areas of possible weakness and prepare positive answers. Friends and staff in the University may be able to assist with this. During the event, give yourself time to think of a response to the question by pausing, repeating the words of the question or, if you need longer, asking for a few moments to consider your answer.

Practical advice and guidance on how to prepare and deliver powerful presentations is available from the Student Learning Centre, College House. A range of free study guides is available and there are Individual Consultations for one-to-one advice. For guidance on interview technique, the Careers Service offers a range of guides, videos, one-to-one consultations and workshops.


3. Map out your anxieties

You may find it helpful to identify the aspects of the situation which are causing you the greatest levels of anxiety, in order to plan steps to prevent them from becoming a reality.  Imagine the presentation or interview and write down the aspects which cause you to feel particularly anxious, and then identify something you could do in advance which would help to prevent this from occurring. For instance, if you are worried about using equipment, make sure that you practise using it before the event. Alternatively, if you are worried that a weakness will be highlighted, plan a positive response to this in advance.


4. Look after yourself

Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally will help to control your anxiety levels by making you feel relaxed and using up some of the nervous energy that is produced when you are under stress. The Student Learning Centre Study Guide: Exam Stress explains the following strategies in more detail and is recommended as a source for further information.

  • Eat a well balanced diet which limits alcohol, caffeine and sugary foods.
  • Aim to have between six to eight hours sleep per night.
  • Exercise regularly as this uses up nervous energy and relaxes muscles.
  • Make time for fun such as participating in a sport or hobby.
  • Practise taking control of your breathing. Concentrate on breathing out to a slow count of four; the breathing in will take care of itself.


On the day of the event


1. Expect that you will feel some nerves or anxiety

On the day of the presentation or interview expect that you will have some nerves or anxiety. This is your body's way of preparing itself to cope, so do not try to eliminate your nerves totally, but aim to keep them manageable.

You can also expect to feel nervous particularly at the start of the interview or presentation and it is likely that you may feel shaky or possibly your voice will tremble. If this does happen, change to a slower pace, breathe more deeply and expect that the tremble/shakiness will go away. People do expect to see some nerves at the outset. Allow yourself time to settle into the presentation or interview and then you can perform to the best of your ability as it continues.

Nerves can make you speed up or slow you down on the day. If you are using note cards in a presentation, you may find it useful to put reminders to yourself to check the time and to think about whether you need to slow down or speed up.


2. Think positively: don't jump to conclusions about people's reactions

Do not forget to use the positive thinking skills that you have been practising up to the event on the day itself. Tell yourself you can do it and try not to jump to conclusions about how people appear to be reacting to you. Some people may look stern or uninterested, when they are actually just concentrating very hard on what you are saying.


3. Try to relax yourself physically 

Remember to use the breathing exercise that you have practised. You may also find it useful to do a relaxation exercise to release muscular tension in places such as the neck and shoulders. Take some deep breaths, aim to increase the distance between your shoulders and your ears. This will help to lengthen your muscles and relieve tension.


4. Be careful about what you eat and drink

Avoid food or drink that is high in sugar, alcohol or caffeine as these can make you feel more jittery. Immediately prior to the event it can be better to have a warm rather than cold drink. Cold drinks tend to constrict the vocal chords and may increase the likelihood of your voice trembling.


5. Prepare strategies in case you feel overwhelmed

Do something that will distract you from the frozen state. You could change your posture or focus your gaze just above peoples' eyes for a few seconds which may help you to collect your thoughts. If you are really stuck you may need to ask for a short amount of time to concentrate because you have lost your train of thought through nerves. People are generally supportive and will think more positively if they see you trying to gain composure.


6. Reward yourself for a job done

Praise yourself afterwards for a job done no matter how well or badly you think it went, and then do something which you enjoy as a special treat.


What can I do to support a friend with performance anxiety?

Friends are usually the first people we turn to when we are under stress. Often, very simple things can help.

  • Help your friend to keep a sense of perspective about the event and to develop positive thinking about the situation.  Encourage them to do the best that they can and to accept that they are not a failure if they do not do as well as they would have liked.
  • Help them to rehearse and practise their presentation or interview techniques. Provide them with constructive feedback which highlights some good aspects of their techniques along with identifying areas that could be improved.
  • If you will be at the presentation, give your friend some positive encouragement and feedback during the session. Smile, show interest, ask a question.
  • Be there to meet them after the presentation or interview and support them no matter how well or badly they think they did.
  • Plan something enjoyable to do afterwards to celebrate a job done.
  • Encourage them to follow the strategies outlined in the guide and to seek further support if these strategies are not helping.
  • Don't take them to the pub beforehand - it rarely has the desired effect!


Help and advice

There is a number of University services that can help you with performance anxiety. These include the Welfare Service, the Counselling Service, the Careers Service, and, of course, Learning Development.


P.Nandhini Priya - MEC ( ITE )     2013-09-16 17:59:27





  • Ambidextrous Use both hands well
  • Ambiguity Double meaning, can be interpreted in more than one way



  • Aquarium Artificial environment for water plants and animals
  • Aquatic Plant or animal living in water



  • Artistic Natural skill in art
  • Artisan Skilled manual work



  • Automatic Working by itself
  • Autonomous Having self-government


Two, Twice

  • Biannual Occurring twice in a year
  • Bigamy Being married twice



  • Biology Study of living things
  • Biohazard Risk to living things



  • Cardiology Branch of medicine dealing with the heart
  • Cardiovascular Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels



  • Centenary Hundredth Anniversary
  • Centenarian Person who is hundred or more years old



  • Certificate Document attesting a fact like birth, death, graduation, marriage etc
  • Certitude Feeling of certainty



  • Chronology Study of events in the order of their occurrence
  • Chronograph Instrument that records time with high accuracy



  • Counter-intuitive Contrary to intuition
  • Counter-productive Having the opposite effect as intended



  • Detoxify Remove the poisonous substances
  • Dethrone Remove from the throne



  • Democracy System of government elected by the people
  • Demography  - Statistics of births, deaths, mortality etc. of people



  • Dermatologist Doctor specialized in the study of skin disorders
  • Dermatitis Inflammation of the skin



  • Florist Person who sells flowers
  • Floral Decorated with flowers



  • Gastritis Inflammation of the stomach lining
  • Gastroenterologist Doctor specialized in the study of stomach and intestinal disorders



  • Gratify Delight or please someone
  • Gratuity Tip, token of appreciation



  • Hepatitis Inflammation of the liver
  • Hepatic Relating to the liver



  • Heptagon Figure with seven sides
  • Heptathlon Athletic event having seven events



  • Hexagon Figure with six sides
  • Hexavalent Having a valency of six



  • Interconnect Connect with each other
  • Interdepend Depend on each other



  • Isosceles Triangle having two equal sides
  • Isobar Line on map connecting points of equal barometer pressures


P.Nandhini Priya - MEC ( ITE )     2013-09-15 11:23:16


Syllabus for bank PO exam2013-14


Number system Number series
Approximation Wrong Number
Percentage HCF & LCF
Average & Ages Ratio & Proportion
Partnership Discount
Profit & Loss Simple Interest
Compound Interest Time & Work
Time,Speed & Distance Mensuration
Bar Diagrams Pie Chart
Data Interpretation Allegation of Mixture

Reasoning Syllabus:-

Figure Series Odd Man out
Classification Blood Relation
Ranking Sitting Arrangement
Alphabetical Test Coding-Decoding
Analogy Letter word formation
Number code Syllogism

English Syllabus:-

Vocabulary Test Synonyms
Antonyms Idioms & Phrases
Fill in the blank Cloze Test
Spotting Errors Reconstruction of sentence & passage
One word substitution Comprehension
Commonly misspelled words

General awareness Syllabus:-

Books & Their Authors Indian Economy
International Economy Banking
RBI Social Function of Banks
Awards & Honors Sports
UNO Marketing
Finance Agriculture

Computer awareness Syllabus:-

Basic computer terminology Computer abbreviation
Software & Hardware questions Ms-office
Internet use

Pattern of IBPS exam paper:

There are four main subjects in Bank Exams:

Reasoning (50 Marks)
English Language (40 Marks)
Quantitative Aptitude (50 Marks)
General Awareness (with special reference to Banking Industry) (40 Marks)
Computer Knowledge (20 Marks)

                                                                                                      Nandhini Priya .P(MEC IV-IT)

P.Nandhini Priya - MEC ( ITE )     2013-09-15 11:21:15




1. So, tell me a little about yourself.

I'd be very surprised if you haven't been asked this one at every interview. It's probably the most asked question because it sets the stage for the interview and it gets you talking. Be careful not to give the interviewer your life story here. You don't need to explain everything from birth to present day. Relevant facts about education, your career and your current life situation are fine.

2. Why are you looking (or why did you leave you last job)?

This should be a straightforward question to answer, but it can trip you up. Presumably you are looking for a new job (or any job) because you want to advance your career and get a position that allows you to grow as a person and an employee. It's not a good idea to mention money here, it can make you sound mercenary. And if you are in the unfortunate situation of having been downsized, stay positive and be as brief as possible about it. If you were fired, you'll need a good explanation. But once again, stay positive.

3. Tell me what you know about this company.

Do your homework before you go to any interview. Whether it's being the VP of marketing or the mailroom clerk, you should know about the company or business you're going to work for. Has this company been in the news lately? Who are the people in the company you should know about? Do the background work, it will make you stand out as someone who comes prepared, and is genuinely interested in the company and the job.

4. Why do you want to work at X Company?

This should be directly related to the last question. Any research you've done on the company should have led you to the conclusion that you'd want to work there. After all, you're at the interview, right? Put some thought into this answer before you have your interview, mention your career goals and highlight forward-thinking goals and career plans.

5. What relevant experience do you have?

Hopefully if you're applying for this position you have bags of related experience, and if that's the case you should mention it all. But if you're switching careers or trying something a little different, your experience may initially not look like it's matching up. That's when you need a little honest creativity to match the experiences required with the ones you have. People skills are people skills after all, you just need to show how customer service skills can apply to internal management positions, and so on.

6. How are you when you're working under pressure?

Once again, there are a few ways to answer this but they should all be positive. You may work well under pressure, you may thrive under pressure, and you may actually PREFER working under pressure. If you say you crumble like aged blue cheese, this is not going to help you get your foot in the door.

7. What motivates you to do a good job?

The answer to this one is not money, even if it is. You should be motivated by life's noble pursuits. You want recognition for a job well done. You want to become better at your job. You want to help others or be a leader in your field.

8. What's your greatest strength?

This is your chance to shine. You're being asked to explain why you are a great employee, so don't hold back and stay do stay positive. You could be someone who thrives under pressure, a great motivator, an amazing problem solver or someone with extraordinary attention to detail. If your greatest strength, however, is to drink anyone under the table or get a top score on Mario Kart, keep it to yourself. The interviewer is looking for work-related strengths.

9. What's your biggest weakness?

If you're completely honest, you may be kicking yourself in the butt. If you say you don't have one, you're obviously lying. This is a horrible question and one that politicians have become masters at answering. They say things like "I'm perhaps too committed to my work and don't spend enough time with my family." Oh, there's a fireable offense. I've even heard "I think I'm too good at my job, it can often make people jealous." Please, let's keep our feet on the ground. If you're asked this question, give a small, work-related flaw that you're working hard to improve. Example: "I've been told I occasionally focus on details and miss the bigger picture, so I've been spending time laying out the complete project every day to see my overall progress."


Suganya.S - MEC ( ITE )     2013-07-27 18:20:37


Preparation is essential if you want to do well. Have a look at the checklist:

Stage 1 - Preparation

  • Re-read your resume.
  • Prepare questions to ask and to be asked
  • Work out clothes to wear
  • Rehearse interview
  • Anticipate the obvious questions during the interview
  • Work out a strategy for dealing with stress
  • Read vacancy details, employer's literature - what they are and what they want
  • Know where the interview will take place

Stage 2 - First Impressions Count

  • Arrive in good time
  • Make a good entrance
  • Body language - handshake, posture, eye contact
  • Smile

Stage 3 - The Interview

  • Be yourself
  • Be honest
  • Be prepared to talk - but not too much
  • Don't be afraid to ask for clarification
  • Illustrate your answers with examples
  • Be ready to sell yourself
  • Be interesting

Stage 4 - The Final Stage

  • Know when the interview is over - read employer's body language
  • Thank him/her for his/her time
  • Learn from the experience - ask for feedback if necessary

Questions You Can Prepare For

  • Tell us about yourself
  • Why did you choose your degree and what have you gained from it?
  • What has been your most important achievement in life so far? Why?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why have you applied for this job?
  • What do you have to offer us?
  • What are the current issues in this sector of work?
  • What experience do you have of working in a team and what role did you play in that team?
  • Describe a project you have successfully completed.
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • Describe a situation you have found difficult. How did you overcome it?
  • What questions would you like to ask us?



Suganya.S - MEC ( ITE )     2013-07-24 22:24:28


Interview tips:How to prepare for an interview

What do I need to do before an interview?
Essential advice on getting ready for a job interview, polishing your technique and calming your interview nerves...

Give yourself plenty of time to:

  • research the role and the organisation;
  • think about how well your experience, interests and skills fit the job and the organisation;
  • research current affairs and trends in your job sector;
  • find out what the prospective employer is actually looking for;
  • anticipate questions you might be asked, then prepare answers to these questions;
  • find out what form the interview will take, e.g. single, panel, group etc.

You should also:

  • plan the day of the interview, especially your journey with an aim to arrive ten minutes early. Take money in case you need to take a taxi or bus unexpectedly; carry an A-Z street map or put the postcode of the organisation into Google maps on your mobile to prevent getting lost;
  • decide what you will wear and set it out the night before. Suits and business wear are the best option with comfortable, polished shoes;
  • get an early night - we all perform better when fully awake.

How do I make a good impression at a job interview?

Stand out for all the right reasons by ensuring you:

  • arrive on time or better still early;
  • are organised. Take your application letter, CV and examples of work (if appropriate) with you;
  • listen carefully to questions and answer them concisely;
  • highlight your best attributes in the interview. Before you go, think about what you want the interviewer to know about you (in relation to the job) during the interviewing process;
  • pay attention to the way you communicate. There's evidence to suggest that non-verbal communication overpowers verbal communication so if you describe yourself as confident and outgoing but speak inaudibly and avoid eye contact, the interviewer will read the latter as indicating a lack of confidence and disregard what you said about being confident;
  • practise anything you're concerned about. This could be saying your answers aloud, which builds confidence in hearing yourself speak, or having a trial run of the journey to the interview.

What techniques can I use to control my nerves?

In interviews, nerves can make you forget to do simple things such as smile and listen, which can result in being thought of as unfriendly or inattentive. You're more likely to be nervous if you're inadequately prepared so as well as following our advice above, you should:

  • give yourself time to think about what unique qualities you will bring to the job/organisation;
  • think of practical examples to demonstrate what you have achieved and draw upon all aspects of your working, educational and social life;
  • write notes and take these along to the interview;
  • use cues in your notes to highlight examples that you want to draw upon, such as 'cricket team', 'course representative', 'sales job';
  • be aware of the structure of the interview. Interviews often begin with topics that are easier to answer because you need less time to think, such as 'tell us about your studies at university';
  • pause before answering a difficult question in order to give yourself time to think;
  • use positive language, as interviewers will be assessing your motivation and enthusiasm;
  • ask for clarification if, at first, you're unsure of what the question means;
  • breathe.

Where can I practise my interview skills?

Your university careers and employability service is likely to provide practice interview sessions.

Alternatively, you could:

  • practise your answers (to anticipated questions) with someone you trust and seek feedback but don't be overly self-critical;
  • use non-job interviews as opportunities to practise and monitor your interview skills, e.g. discussions with your tutor, doctor etc.;
  • ask for feedback and advice after unsuccessful interviews and take it as an opportunity to learn and improve;
  • pay a private company to provide interview practice.

Plan your answers to common interview questions.

What should I take to a job interview?

  • In general you will not need more than your own letter of application and CV, the job specification/description and your own notes.
  • Your invitation to interview should detail everything you need to bring. Often employers request examination certificates, which can take time to locate, so make sure you check what you need in plenty of time.
  • You might wish to impress by reading up on the organisation's literature, e.g. a business plan or corporate social responsibility strategy, but make sure you have read it in depth and be prepared to share your views and ideas.
  • A pen and notebook are always worth carrying with you and, if giving a presentation, take a copy on a data stick even if you have emailed it beforehand, along with copies of the slides to use as handouts for the interview panel.
  • If you take a mobile phone, make sure it is switched to silent or off before entering the organisation.

What is a competency-based interview?

This type of interview is one where the interviewer seeks evidence that you have the skills and experience required to do the job. 

Interviews that take this form involve questions developed around the job and person specifications, so think carefully about examples from your own experience that match or complement these specifications. 
Remember that you can use examples from contexts other than work, for example, you may never have worked in a team in the same type of organisation but you have participated in teams elsewhere.

It's important to show an ability or interest in being able to learn new skills; if you are asked about something that is outside your experience, describe a situation where you learned something new and suggest you can do so again.

How do I prepare for a phone interview?

Phone interviews are most often used as a preliminary screen. When preparing for the interview it's important to consider:

  • tone of voice - ensure you're enthusiastic and use positive language;
  • battery life - if using your mobile charge it fully before the interview;
  • location - find a quiet place for the interview, where you will be undisturbed by noise or others.

Phone interviews are often recorded so you may want to find out whether yours will be. It's important to pay particular attention to getting your key messages across quickly - write key attributes down and have this available during the phone call. Be willing to repeat these with the use of examples.

More recently, there has been an increase in Skype or video interviews. This is particularly likely if applying for jobs overseas or where key staff are located overseas.

Remember to dress as you would for a face-to-face interview and check what else will be in the shot with you before the interview begins.

How do I prepare for a second interview?

A second interview means you have made it through the initial screening and the interviewer is now looking for:

  • evidence that you have the skills, abilities and interest to carry out the job;
  • confirmation that you are able to bring something of value to the organisation.

It's likely that questioning will focus on gathering a deeper understanding of you and your motivations and how these fit with the role, existing team of staff and organisational ethos. Therefore, in order to prepare:

  • find out as much as you can about the challenges that face the organisation, its priorities, its markets, its competitors, any existing or new legislative arrangements, etc.;
  • think about what you could bring to the organisation and prepare examples of how you have achieved (or learned) something of relevance;
  • find ways to demonstrate enthusiasm for the goals of the organisation.


P.Nandhini Priya - MEC ( ITE )     2013-07-12 15:27:28