3 Tricks to Pulverizing Presentation Anxiety

By Mike Polites, Owner and Corporate Trainer for TrainingGroupInc.com

If you’re like most people, the thought of getting up to speak in front of an audience is not only intimidating, but the nervousness and anxiety can start days before you speak.  Follow these tips to help calm the nervous and put anxiety in its place. 

  1. Prepare!  Prepare!  Prepare! - Most people are already nervous when they are asked to deliver a presentation.  The best way to beat that anxiety is to ensure that your materials are ready several days in advance.   If your speaking outline, your notes, your attire, your PowerPoints and other visual aids are all ready to go a few days ahead of time, AND you have rehearsed at least 10-12 times on your own, you should feel confident and ready to roll!
  2. Think Positive!  - What goes on in your brain, affects what comes out of your mouth.  If your mindset is, “Gosh, I hate speaking in front of others.”  Or “Man, I really don’t want to do this because no one cares what I have to say.”  Congratulations!  You’ve just set yourself up for failure.  But changing that mindset to “Hey, here’s a great opportunity to connect with my clients.”  Or “Wow, I get to practice a newfound skill and make an impact on this audience!” then you are much more likely to have success. 
  3. Get to Know Your Audience – Arrive early and have some informal conversations with the audience.  Welcome them.  Ask questions.  Build a little rapport.  You will be less nervous during your presentation if you take the time to chat with your audience beforehand when possible.
  4. BONUS TIP – Exercise!  - I’m not talking about running a marathon before your presentation.  But something as simple as stretching or even a little mini-massage to the neck or shoulders can help get the blood flowing and reduce nervousness. 

 

Want to NAIL your next presentation?  For more on this topic and many others, talk to Mike mpolites@TrainingGroupInc.com about training your company.

3 Ways to Get Their Attention 

By Mike Polites, Owner and Corporate Trainer for TrainingGroupInc.com

If you’re giving a presentation, you’ve got about a minute to grab the audience’s attention and reel them in so they listen to the rest.  But how can you do that?  Here are 3 ways:

  1. Stories – A good, well-rehearsed story has the potential to engage them right away.  For added impact, don’t tell them the end, the moral, or result of the story (if applicable) but at the end of your presentation, refer back to “that story I told when I began” and at that point close with the solution, moral, result, etc.
  2. Quotations from Notable or Familiar People – This is one I like to use a lot, especially if you find something relevant to your topic.  My favorite is: “You can get anything you want in life, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” –Zig Ziglar, Author and Motivational Speaker 
  3. Humor – Be careful with this one.  When used appropriately and well-timed, it can win over an audience immediately.  When used inappropriately and ineffectively, it can turn an audience against you.  Ex: jokes, cartoons that are relevant to your topic, etc. 
  4. BONUS TIP – You can use any of the aforementioned tips as part of your conclusion as well!

 

Want to NAIL your next presentation?  For more on this topic and many others, talk to Mike mpolites@TrainingGroupInc.com about training your company.

3 Tips for Turning a Good Speech into a Great Speech

By Mike Polites, Owner and Corporate Trainer for TrainingGroupInc.com

You’re giving a presentation next week to your clients.  Your content is done.  You picked the perfect attire to impress them.  Even your PowerPoints and visual aids are enough to impress anyone.  But, what about your delivery?  If you really want to make an impact, and you don’t want to sound like the teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (“Bueller.  Bueller.  Bueller.”) then remember these 3 methods for turning a good speech into a great speech!

  1. Vocal Variety – This is the absolute BEST way to not sound boring.  From time to time throughout your presentation, alter your tone, volume, rate and pauses.  Ex: During your introduction and conclusion, perhaps you speak at a faster rate and maybe slightly louder.  But when you have statistics or a story, slow it down and speak slightly softer.  This will take some practice to master.
  2. Movement – I’m 5’1” tall so I’m not a fan of podiums.  If you have the opportunity to remove barriers between you and your audience, do so.  This will allow you the freedom to move about.  The best way to do this is to avoid pacing, but rather, move at your main points.  Say you’re talking to your new client about some changes your company is making.  Begin with change #1 over on the right, and then talk about change #2 by moving to the left, and perhaps moving toward the middle for your final point/change.  What happens is that it helps you as the speaker, separate your points in your mind so you stay on track.  Bonus, it helps the audience recall your points later too because physically, you were in a different spot when you spoke about each one.  You can also use hand gestures as well. 
  3. The Eyes Have It – It’s pretty simple, really.  If you’re not looking at your audience, you’re disconnecting them from your speech and losing impact.  Establish consistent eye contact using one of two techniques:  A) Triangle Technique, where you’re looking toward the back left, then the back right, then the front and center, followed by the front right, front left, and back center.  B) Scan Technique, where you are literally scanning your audience.  Look at each person for about 3-5 seconds, about the length of a sentence – any more than that – it gets weird! 

 

Want to NAIL your next presentation?  For more on this topic and many others, talk to Mike mpolites@TrainingGroupInc.com about training your company.

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