Tips for Overcoming Fear of a Presentation

March 12, 2013
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Enthusiasm and knowledge are two integral aspects of a successful business presentation; however, a fear of public speaking often plays upon the nerves of many business professionals. What’s interesting, however, is research has shown that most audiences cannot determine whether a speaker is nervous during a business presentation.

Use this to your advantage by immediately displaying your knowledge of the subject matter. This will go a long way in getting the attention of your audience and help you overcome any fear or nervousness of speaking in public.

Here are some tips to combat any nervousness and fears of a presentation from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of the Mid-Atlantic:

Be thoroughly informed about your topic — With adequate research and preparation, you can become an expert on the topic of your presentation. This will instill in you the confidence you need to speak with authority on the subject matter, and engage and impress an audience. Take the time to memorize a few key facts and figures and consider providing metrics in the form of handouts.

Provide Clean Copy – Remember that your presented copy and graphics are there to help the audience understand your presentation. Ensure each slide contains a short list of bullet points instead of long sentences and paragraphs. Then expound upon each bullet point topic and provide necessary information as you go. If you are dealing with a large amount of information, explain that you’ll provide handouts for later review so the audience remains focused.

Control your Q&A – When you take questions following your presentation, it is possible that an audience member will ask you about something irrelevant or something that requires more research, knowledge or follow-up on your part. If this occurs, let the person who asked the question know that you will follow up with an answer later.

Take your time — If you’re nervous, you may talk too quickly or miss important items. This will lead to your audience missing important information you wish to communicate. In your personal presentation notes, provide organized aides to remind yourself to pause, assess audience response and take a breath.

Be mobile if possible — If you are delivering your presentation in a casual setting, try to walk around the room to further engage your audience. This movement can help you get rid of your nervous energy and can enhance both your authority and the appearance of a more relaxed setting.

Supply your handouts before the presentation — If you want to keep your audience engaged, especially if you are conducting a training exercise, pass out your presentation before getting started. However, don’t provide them with all the key data points—have them write it in on their personal copies. By doing this your audience will remember more of your presentation and help you become more engaged with them.

While topic knowledge, preparation and enthusiasm are key parts of a quality business presentation; remember that your ability to speak comfortably in front of an audience also requires effort. Use the above tips to strengthen your public speaking tactics and you’ll find you can offer a clear, concise and effective business presentation on any topic of your choosing.

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This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Maryland and the DC Metro Area, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Maryland and the DC Metro AreaWe’d love to connect with you on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/imagerymajestic

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