Stage Fright in Business Presentations

William Shakespeare once wrote, “All the world’s a stage. And all the men and women merely players.”

In order to land a big account, David would be pitching his presentation in a couple of hours. Then his boss came to him and said the presentation was moved up – to now. David is confident enough and has no nervous feelings about giving the speech to his prospective client as he has done this same presentation at least 100 times before.

Whether giving your presentation as a formal keynote address at a conference or as an informal dialogue with a customer at a conference table, your reputation is on the line. Many people suffer throughout their careers with the fear of public speaking. Some have succeeded for years at avoiding giving presentations, and others could not as it is a part of their jobs.

Called fear of public speaking, stage fright, speech anxiety, or performance anxiety, it affects thousands of careers moving forward in getting a promotion and in getting work accomplished. Stage fright is the fear of feeling nervous and uncomfortable in front of others. Stage Fright is still the #1 fear in America. According to a human resource survey reported in 2005, approximately 15% of employed persons are highly apprehensive about communicating orally in organizational settings.

Some people are born with the skills, the talent, and the ability to be a total extrovert and give a speech or presentation at the drop of a hat. Most of us cannot do that, even though we may consider ourselves as extroverted. Practically everyone – about 85% of the population, in fact – experiences “stage fright” when they give a speech. Being in the spotlight is not what most people wanted, even though they may fantasize about it.

In contrast to David, Darlene, a 32-year-old sales manager, was about to give her sales presentation to a potentially large prospect when she began to experience what actors have long called stage fright or performance anxiety. She had started out preparing for this presentation with a 20-page manuscript, and finally was able to pare it to 10 to 15 index cards. And she still was extremely nervous about the actual presentation in front of the prospective client. After experiencing this anxiety over the presentation, she decided that she needed to do something about since she had just been promoted and giving presentations is part of her new job.

Stage fright is usually a fear of how others will judge our performance and perhaps even judge us as individuals. It can start minutes, hours, or days before that important performance. The doubts start to occupy your thoughts and your body feels the tension and fear. You may notice an increase in your heart rate, sweaty palms, shaky hands, dry throat, and you know the rest.

When it comes to public speaking, there are several categories of people:

o About 5% of the population do not fear speaking in public at all and actually look forward to it in many cases. If you are in this 5%, you need not read any farther.

o Another 10% are apprehensive about speaking in public, but do not have a real fear of it.

o However, the vast majority of us (about 80%) have a mild to serious fear of speaking in public; we don’t do it unless we have to and we tend to minimize the opportunities to speak in public if at all possible;

o Then there are about 5% of us who have an excessive and debilitating fear of speaking in public.

Public speaking is a common source of stress for almost everyone. Many of us would like to avoid this problem entirely, but this is hard to do. This even holds true for extroverts in sales positions. Most people have a fear of getting up in front of an audience to give a presentation. Sometimes this can present such problems as missed business opportunities, lost clients, and even being passed over for promotions that can cost you tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars over your career.

The following strategies will help in improving your presentation skills.

1. Practice, practice, practice: Spend a few minutes every day, including the day of your presentation, practicing what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. Practice alone – that way you can recite it out loud and the information will become more familiar to you. Pretend you are just chatting with a group of friends.

Memorize your opening and closing statements so you can recite them on autopilot if you have to. Even if you know your material very well, practice is extremely important. The more you give a talk, the easier it becomes.

2. Visualization: Imagine yourself walking confidently up to the front of your audience as they applaud. Imagine yourself speaking successfully as you concentrate that you are a good speaker. Imagine how you will feel from the results of your presentation – the positive feedback, landing the big account, getting the promotion. Imagine this over and over from the time you are assigned the talk until moments before you are to present, and then again after the presentation is over to keep this feeling with you.

3. Know your material: If you are not familiar with your material or are uncomfortable with it, your nervousness will increase. Practice your speech or presentation and revise it until you can present it with ease. Know what you are talking about. Do your homework on the subject! Knowing more gives you the self-confidence you need to give your speech and answer questions afterwards. Make an outline. Then replace your outlined pages with index cards. Eventually, you will only need one 3X5 index card, and with experience, you will not even need the one card.

4. Focus on three main points: Remember, all your audience wants from you is to walk away with a few key points that will make a difference to them. Learn as much as you can about your audience, what you want to say to them, and say it. Structure your talks to deliver these few points, and as a result, you can avoid a lot of complexity that is not really needed. Do not deliver mountains of facts or details to give your audience. Many studies have shown that people remember very few of the facts or information speakers convey. While you may choose to include lots of facts and information, to be successful, you only need to talk about two or three main points. If you want, depending on your topic, your entire talk can be about on one key point.

During your speech ask questions, if possible, to your audience in order to give them a participatory feeling. This also gives your audience a chance to ask you questions about those points pertinent to them. One-quarter to one-half of your speech should be a discussion with the audience. That way it will not look or feel as much like a speech. This should make your job as a speaker much easier and a more comfortable experience too!

5. Relax before speaking: There are a few factors you need to think about and some not do. These include:

o Don’t apologize for being nervous. Most of the time, your nervousness will not show at all. If you don’t say anything about it, nobody will notice. If you mention your nervousness or apologize for any problems you think you may be having, you are drawing the attention of the audience to this negative aspect instead of letting them focus on the speech itself, which is why they are there.

o Turn nervousness into positive energy. Even the most seasoned of speakers can feel uneasy or anxious. Take a few long, deep breaths. Harness your energy into being enthusiastic and comfortable about the topic of your presentation.

o Positive eye contact and movement. Use your body language with gestures and facial expressions to your advantage. Do not stare or look up to the ceiling or down to the floor, or stare at any one person in your audience. Instead, scan your eyes over them while you are speaking. This will help ease your discomfort, and make them feel as if they are an important part of what you are saying.

o Remind yourself of the benefits. It is important for your audience to receive the information you’ll be offering them. Thinking about this takes the responsibility off you and puts it on the subject that they need to learn about.

6. Use resources: To improve further on your presentations or speeches, especially for your career, you can join an organization such as Toastmasters, which will help you improve upon all facets of communication skills. Or you can hire speech coach who will help you the same way except on an individual basis.

Christmas 2012 Present Buying Guide Full of Great Gift Ideas

It’s that time of year. The time when you have to rack your brain for present ideas… Some come easy, such as the nephew who plays soccer or the daughter who is a dancer. However what about for those Hard to Buy for people? What do you get those people who you just can’t seem to think of anything for?

Well in this Guide I’m going to address both the best Presents for this Christmas, as well as the best presents for the “hard to buy for” People in your life. So let’s get into it!

Top Selling Presents this year:

1. Apple Accessories:
It is really no surprise to anyone that Apple is still the hottest thing around. With 1 in 2 households owning something apple, there really is no shortage of gift idea’s here. Be it a new phone case, A IPod Dock, or a I pad keyboard. Apple is a great place to start your shopping

2. Sporting Memorabilia
Now this depends on the persons tastes, But 85% of Australian’s follow some form of sport. So grab them a Scarf or bumper sticker for a fail proof gift.

3. For Boys and Men: Video Games
This year has been packed with great game releases. If the Boy or man you’re looking to buy for loves kicking back with the Xbox for a little R&R then check out the new Halo 4, Assassins Creed 3, FIFA 13 and Ridge Racer Unbounded

4. For the Lady in your Life: A New Jewellery Box
Did you get her earrings last year, and a necklace the year before that? Well its now time to get her somewhere special to keep them all. All women Love a new jewellery Box. Get one with a classy design, and several compartments. And don’t forget; if you want extra points put a small something special inside for her.

5. For your Son
The Little man in your life will love many things such as the batman DVD collection: The Dark Knight Trilogy Box Set or a new set of glasses.

6. For your Daughter
We all know that young ladies can be difficult. However you can’t go passed the traditional “Girly” Accessories. A New handbag, Pair of sunglasses, or a Gift voucher for Myers and you can take her on her very own Shopping Spree!

7. For your Parents: A Kindle
The world is a changing, Yet the simply joys in life such as reading remain the same. Grab your parents a Kindle from Amazon, and pre-load it with several of their favourite books!

Now for those “But I have no idea what to get them” People.

The majority of the population will set themselves New-Year’s resolutions on December 31St, So why not get them something that will help them achieve them.

1. A Set of New Body Fat Scales
Over half the country will set the goal to lose weight in 2013, so give them a helping hand with a new set of Body Fat Scales

2. A Gym Starter Pack
For those who don’t want to lose weight, a large amount will aim to “Get in shape” in 2013. We know its much the same thing, However a gym Starter pack will set them on the right track. Include items such as a Gym Towel, Pedometer, Tape measure and Callipers so they can track their results. Oh and don’t forget a water bottle!

3. A Kitchen Scale
Cooking is an essential part of life. Everyone does it, even if they don’t admit it. So grab your mother, your sister or that friend from work a new Kitchen scale and give them the gift of better tasting cooking in 2013.

Well there you have it. A fully comprehensive Christmas Buying Guide. I hope that it helps take the pressure off this Christmas season!

If you found this guide useful please click “Yes” below, so more people can find this guide this year!

Yours in Health and Well-Being


5 Key Presentation Rules in a Commercial Real Estate Agency

The presentations made by commercial real estate agents today must be of the highest quality if the agent is to win the listing. It is a fact that most listing presentations are ‘competitive’ and that a few good agents will in most cases be chasing the same listing. Influencing the client to use your services over that provided by others is a skill to be practiced and refined. That’s what presenting and pitching is all about.

A client needs to see that they are choosing an agent of confidence and relevance. The client’s property is not an ‘experiment’ in marketing, but a ‘challenge’ that requires a solution. Fortunately in this property market we have quite a few listing alternatives and marketing tools to use to get the message out about the property. The best agents do this very well.

The client will invariably choose the agent that has all the right solutions and the commitment to take the property to the market in a specific way. The ‘generic’ approach to property advertising and marketing has little place in this business environment. Only use the ‘generic’ approach with ‘open listings’. Your presentation should be based on an ‘exclusive’ listing process; that is how you will build market share in most cases.

Here are some ideas to help you with preparing for your listing presentation:

  1. Review the property beforehand so you fully understand its opportunities and challenges. Take care when it comes to title restrictions or orders or notices on the property. They will be hurdles in the marketing process and you may need to remove them or resolve them prior to promoting the property.
  2. Check out the competing properties and the market evidence locally. There will be some clear facts and figures that have application to the property that you have for sale or lease. Market evidence will be valuable as you prepare for the release of the listing onto the market.
  3. Understand the client’s requirements today, and the property history. They will have operated the property in a particular way; perhaps for their business or as an investment. Understand how the property has been operated and why.
  4. The financial facts will be essential to taking the listing onto your books. The income and expenditure history will be relevant if the property has been operated as an investment. The financial results should be a good average or better when compared with other similar results locally with other comparable property assets.
  5. Look at the opportunities that are available with the property into the future. Look for supply and demand issues, zoning changes, material change of use, and redevelopment.

When you have the property background fully reviewed and established taking into account the above facts, you are ready to take action on the property presentation. You can make some choices that are of value to your sales pitch or presentation. The client will listen to you.