Continued from page 1
Tip two: When pressed to answer why people feel fear about a presentation, majority answer "l don't want to make a fool of myself or look stupid." If this is one of your concerns, you can take control with preparation. Know what you want to say. Organize your thoughts and your message. Prepare yourself just way a professional speaker gets ready to present. This method may not eliminate all of your fears, but it will help you get over some of your "stage fright." Your confidence level will lift-off when you know that you are prepared.
Tip three: Attitude. We are not referring only to a positive attitude. We are helping you be aware of how much your attitude will reflect in your presentation. Do you wish you were anywhere else? Or are you excited to be there? Whatever you are feeling will be apparent to your audience. Think of it this way, if you are asked to give a speech or presentation, someone considers you to be an expert or that you have something of value to say. Think of yourself as an authority or a conduit of information. Change your attitude from "I don't want to be here" to "I'm glad to be here with you to share some material that will be helpful." You'll be surprised how this one skill can make a difference.
Tip four: About your audience. If you think of an audience collectively you add another pressure. "I'm okay presenting to two or three people, but with anything above a small group, I freeze." We hear this concern often. Whether you are talking to one person or one thousand focus as though you were speaking to one person only. Concentrate on getting your message across to an individual not a group.
Tip five: "What if I make a mistake?" This question comes up in almost every workshop. What is worst that can happen? People generally have a hard time with an answer. When you make a mistake, and we all do, move on. How you handle a mistake is how your audience will react. If you show fear and let your nervousness show you will make your audience uncomfortable. If humor comes naturally to you have fun with it. Or simply say, "let me start over again," correct it and continue. More than once people say their mistake was often highlight of presentation because it made them more human to audience.
These five tips will help you gain confidence, control and connection with your audience of one or one thousand. I encourage you to practice them until they become comfortable for you.
Oh, remember Paula who wanted to be perfect? A few weeks after our presentation workshop Paula called to tell us about her big presentation. "Don't keep us in suspense, how did it go?" "Well, I wasn't perfect and I was successful. We got contract and it is one of company's biggest accounts!" What would have happened if Paula had delayed until she was perfect?
We can all benefit from Paula's lesson. Perfect delays can stop you from being successful in your career and perhaps, even in your personal life. Don't delay; start implementing your presentation and communication skills today. Striving for perfection is not goal, connecting with people is what makes a winning communicator.
(c) 2001, Prime Performance
Judy Jernudd is a leader in coaching programs for the development of personal and group presentation skills. Her firm, Prime Performance, has produced outstanding results for corporate executives, entrepreneurs and professionals. You can reach Judy at (310) 306-6999 or at http://www.PrimePerformance.com.