Key #7 – Don’t Let Nerves Make You Nervous
Everyone gets nervous before major presentations. It simply manifests itself in different ways for different people. You need to understand how you behave when you’re nervous and work on that. Some common nervous reactions:
– Fast Talker
Simple technique. Just make yourself slow down the first three words of any sentence. And, breathe. Once you do this a few times, you’ll automatically slow down.
This is harder. You stay with a monotone that quite literally puts your prospects to sleep. If you are using text, you can mark it for emphasis. This sometimes works, but can be a little artificial. Best suggestion is to find something in what you are proposing to the client that you passionately believe in and present it with all the enthusiasm you can muster. Also, work on making your words more colorful—more active verbs, adjectives and exclamation marks. Keep your remarks short.
– Tongue-twisters and malapropisms
Leave your dictionary at home. Short and simple words are far better than big words used incorrectly. This is endemic in the business world and there are some people (possibly your prospect) who can hear the difference between a word used correctly and not. Similarly, business speak is tedious. How many times do you use the phrase, “at the end of the day?”
– The sweats
This is really hard. Some people just drip when they get nervous. Obviously, a triple dose of strong deodorant is in order. Lightweight clothes are another answer. No caffeine that day helps. Water (with no ice, ice closes the throat) helps a lot. Try not to be the opener of the presentation. Let someone else do it so you can sit back and try to relax until your section. Focus very hard on listening to the prospect and watching for reactions. This gets your mind off of you and onto him or her, which is a good idea, regardless. If none of these suggestions help, then work with a top speech coach. A few sessions should improve the situation immensely. Careful not to get a speech coach who wants you to do all sorts of artificial things. You will end up more nervous and sweaty than before.
– The fakes
You are you. You have a set of special qualities to bring to every presentation. If you try to be someone else, it will make you and everyone else in the room uncomfortable. If you are a serious person, then be serious. If you are lighthearted, then be lighthearted. A smile is always appreciated. If you are a listener, then listen. If you are a talker, then talk. All within the construct of the meeting strategy that the leader has set out.
Key #8 coming up next week.Read more →