Whether it’s giving a presentation in front of 4 people or a crowd of 400, some people just can’t hack it. They forget
what they’re supposed to say, stumble over their words or start trembling. Not everyone is a natural presenter but as a salesperson you have to master this task. Here’s how.
Matt Abrahams designed an infographic for Insights by Stanford Business to help you hack your presentation anxieties. The first thing you need to do is examine where your fears are coming from. Analyzing the source of your fear removes the emotion from the situation and will help you find the right strategy to improve your presentation skills.
For many, anxiety can be reduced by simply acknowledging the feeling and trying to overcome nervousness. For others, it’s all about being intimidated by the audience they are facing. Whether it’s a room filled with potential bosses during a panel interview or a crowd of people who are likely to be hostile to what you have to say, nerves may come from feeling inferior or unprepared.
To address this issue, tackle the third strategy Abrahams offers – focus on your goal. When you think about why people are listening to you, you’re shifting the focus away from you. The group has gathered because they believe you have something important to share with them. Think of yourself as a teacher sharing a lesson with students. Make sure you prepare well and practice ahead of time.
During your presentation, direct your gaze and attention to one or two people who appear to be listening to you. Pause between key speaking points and let the information sink in. If it’s an appropriate setting, ask if anyone has questions or feedback. This is yet another way to shift the focus to the audience. Once you’re answering a question, you’re taking on the role of expert and you’ll feel more confident standing in front of a group.