Overcoming Presentation Anxiety

by ltconsulting on September 26, 2011

Our presentation courses are planned to significantly improve presentation skills to allow delegates of all levels to be able to make powerful presentations.  The presentation seminars that we provide are packed full of presentation tips and techniques that demonstrate strategies which will show delegates how to reduce nerves in presentations and to allow them to present confidently when presenting to clients or colleagues. Our presentation skills workshops are designed not just to show delegates how to make a simple presentation: they are designed to show delegates how to create a successful presentation also maximising the applications of PowerPoint to make great presentationsPresentation training will allow delegates to build on their presenting skills; make better presentations; enjoy making presentations and teach delegates how to present successfully.  Delegates who have taken our Presentation Courses have expressed how much they enjoyed the variety in our presentation skills training and now feel confident to present in any situation.

Presenting to peers, strangers and public speaking in general, whether for public or business reasons, is a common source of stress. If you have ever been in contact with a ‘Best-Man’ before his speech is due, you will see just how terrifying it can be for some. For many, we would like to avoid the problem entirely, and avoid having to present in front of a group, but for most is hard to dodge. If we have ambitions to be leaders or achieve something meaningful in our lives, we may need to speak to groups, large and small, to be successful.

Speaking to a group informally, for most is not a hugely challenging experience. However, when it comes to public-speaking, something else takes hold, and even a successful and confident individual can quake with fear when faces with the prospect of it. The fear stems from thoughts of “what if” – “what if they are bored”; “what if they don’t understand me”; “what if I make a mistake”; “what if something goes wrong” etc. Well, what if everyone loved you, your presentation and nothing went wrong, would you still feel nervous? Probably! Public speaking is like anything and takes practise to become confident and stress-free. For some of us, we may never lost the stress of public-speaking but those nervous triggers will abate over time.

Public Speaking can in fact be an enjoyable experience and does not have to be a stressful and nerve-wracking experience. If you are aware of the stressors that cause public speaking anxiety and remember some key principles, it can truthfully be an enlivening and rewarding experience.

Key Principles to overcoming your anxiety, principles 1-4

Principle 1: Don’t worry about being perfect!

You can be ordinary. You can even be below average. You can make mistakes, get tongue-tied, or forget whole segments of your talk. You can even tell no jokes at all and still be successful.

Many of us have observed speakers and thought to ourselves “I’ll never be that polished or entertaining or confident…” You don’t have to be brilliant, witty, or perfect to succeed. Thankfully, that’s not what public speaking is about. Your audience doesn’t expect perfection, and will often empathise with a nervous speaker, in the ‘been there, done that’ mode of thinking. Most speakers will put incredible pressure on themselves to deliver the perfect performance and presentation.

Essentially, public speaking is to give your audience something of value. If your audience leave with something (anything) of value, they will consider you and your presentation a success. If they leave feeling better about themselves, feeling better their job etc, they will consider you and your presentation a success. If they leave feeling happy or entertained, they will consider their time with you worthwhile.

Principle 2: Focus on Two or Three Main Points

Many studies have shown that people remember very few of the facts or information speakers convey. While you may choose to include lots of facts and information, you only need to include two or three main points for a successful presentation. You may even wish to focus on one key point, should this be relevant.

Overloading your audience with statistics and different convoluted (and not entirely relevant) points can lose the audience’s attention rapidly.

Your audience want to leave your presentation with one or two key points that are relevant to them and that will make a difference to them. Remember to structure your key points in order to achieve this, avoiding complex, additional points that aren’t necessarily relevant at this point.

Principle 3: Remember to GIVE not GET!

The essence of public speaking is to give your audience something of value and use, and not for you, the speaker to get anything (approval, fame, respect, sales, clients, etc.) from your audience. The speaker who does not seeks approval from his/her audience will avoid one of the biggest pitfalls that cause people to experience public speaking anxiety.

To approach your public-speaking with the knowledge that you will impart something of use to your audience, and to focus on what they need and want, you will lessen your anxiety.

Principle 4: There is no stereotypical ‘public speaker’

Many of us have a distorted and exaggerated view of a successful public speaker. Often, we assume that we must strive to gain these idealistic qualities that we presently lack and struggle desperately to emulate the personal characteristics of other speakers which we wrongly believe are responsible for their public speaking success.

No matter what type of person we are, or what skills and talents we possess, we can stand up in front of others and fully be ourselves.

Don’t attempt to emulate another public speaker and try and act in a manner that is not natural to you. It is important to be yourself, armed with your knowledge and key points, and to project the real you.

Excellent presentation skills give you a platform to demonstrate your sales skills, leadership qualities, communication skills, influencing abilities and promotion potential. Our objective over the two days is to teach you the skills and techniques that will give you both the confidence and competence to enjoy making presentations in all situations. We will be giving action points to sharpen your image; reduce nerves; allow you to appear both confident and competent and increase your credibility in the eyes of colleagues and clients.

PowerPoint presentation skills, Advanced Presentation skills and Presentation skills are three of the courses trained by Total Success Training, a training consultancy specialising in communication training and management skills in London and throughout the UK. Other related courses include sales presentation skills, training the trainer, assertiveness skills, selling skills, negotiation skills and communication skills for managers. Click here if you need more information regarding presentation skills course information or contact Total Success who will be delighted to talk to you via e-mail.

Other useful links:

https://lorien.ncl.ac.uk/ming/Dept/Tips/present/comms.htm
https://www.essortment.com/all/overcomingfear_num.htm
https://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/presentationskills.htm
https://changingminds.org/techniques/body/body_language.htm
https://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A427277
https://nonverbal.ucsc.edu/
https://www.stresscure.com/jobstress/speak.html
https://www.nfib.com/object/2681584.html
https://www.public-speaking.org/public-speaking-articles.htm

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