If you want your business to be recognized in a crowded field that is saturated with hundreds of new startups each day, then you are going to need to learn the art of public speaking. It’s no secret that many CEO’s and thought-leaders are turning to the stages of TED or attending major conferences in their industry to give a presentation so they can position themselves as an authority.
However, many entrepreneurs will not seek this opportunity because they are deathly afraid of giving a public speech. In fact, 75% of the public are afraid of speaking in public mostly because they don’t want to make a mistake or be seen as incompetent. We recently interviewed Chris Johnson of the professional speaking website MotivationalSpeakerz.com and asked him about this and here is what he had to share with us:
To the average person, says Johnson, “Apart from poisonous snakes, making public speeches is the most frightening thing in the world.”
Johnson confesses that he remains nervous even after having made hundreds of speeches and presentations. However, he is not quite as nervous as he used to be. He says: “The only people who don’t seem to be nervous, in my experience, are those who are the most tremendous bores.”
Hints From Johnson on Clinching a Sales Presentation
Nerves are not only common, they are natural. As a matter of fact, nerves appear to improve the quality of presentations. Nerves are a manifestation of the fact that the presenter cares. And because he cares, he tries harder.
So how can the presenter learn to live with his nerves and minimize the stress? Johnson describes three ways:
- “First, remember that no client comes in hoping to see a poor presentation of lousy work. He is looking forward to seeing a good presentation of excellent work. So he is not to be feared.
- Second, unquestionably the best way to combat nerves: be better prepared. Whenever I am going to make a presentation I have rehearsed in my mind several times how it is going to go. I even go to the extent of visualizing the audience’s reaction (which is always enthusiastic!).
- And third, get mentally prepared and do whatever you can to create a positive mindset. I enjoy reading positive and quotes from websites like Motivation Ping as I find that they put me in the right frame of mind before giving my presentation.
I have anticipated all the things that might go wrong. I have considered what I will do if the audience turns out to be difficult in some way. I will have reflected on the type of people that are going to attend. I will have mastered my material.
Finally, I find it useful to spend a little time – maybe only three or four minutes – on my own, to compose myself.”
Treat the Creative Work with the Respect it Deserves
Nerves are bad for the creative work too. Johnson says that the presenter must not “rattle” his way through a piece of work. After all, it’s the creative work that tends to get clients excited. It is the physical manifestation of everything they have paid out and will pay out money for. Therefore, the creative work must get it its due.
If creative work is good, then it can stand a fair degree of explanation as to why. If the ad executive who is making the presentation cannot explain why, then maybe he hasn’t thought things through properly; or, even worse, the work just doesn’t make sense.
How to Deal with Presentation Nerves
Although it is natural to be nervous before a presentation, it is a good sign as the nervous presenter tries harder to succeed. Chris Johnson shares two tips on how to conquer presentation nerves.
The first one is to remember that the client is not some kind of monster. He is only eager to see some great creative work since he is paying for it.
Secondly, the presenter should be fully rehearsed and prepared.