Ten Tips for Presentation Jitters — #6-#10

Richard Elmes — the Sales Dating Guy — covers his best tips for dealing with pre-presentation jitters (here and here).  He uses the theme that selling is just like dating.  Hmmm, that explains so much about why I’ve been an indifferent salesman at best. 

Anyway, his list is strong and practical.  I’ve found that most excellent sales folks and presenters get that way by practice and systematic preparation.  No, they’re not all naturals.  They all seem to have lists like this — I’ll break it in two like Richard did with comments as appropriate.

10. Take a deep breath:  Several deep breaths will help calm you down and allow you to get the oxygen you need.

9. Realize that they want you to succeed: [E]very audience you speak in front of will have 2 types of people in it. The first type have never done public speaking before and they are deathly afraid of it…the second type have done public speaking before and they know how difficult it can be….

#9 is important…I used to get very self-involved with my nervousness and forgot that almost all of my audience was on my side (and those who weren’t often had their own crosses to bear).  Remember that both types respect what you’re doing.

8. Speak about what you know:  Knowing your subject matter well will help your confidence level.

7. Prepare thoroughly: 95% of how well your presentation is going to go will be determined before you even start.

6. Focus on the message, not the medium

Richard notes that #7 and #8 go together very well, though sometimes I forget that.  My worst presentations have been on topics I know well, but where I’ve skimped on the preparation.  This lack of preparation often manifested itself in #6, especially when I’ve not practiced working the deck.  The medium, usually PPT, conspires against me when I don’t know where/how slides build, didn’t check the story line, find too much text, etc.


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