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Are there actually more people in the world who are afraid of speaking in front of others than in dying? Yes, 54% of adults are more afraid of public speaking than death! What are we afraid of? Messing up? Being rejected? Feeling foolish? Unsure if our audience will think we don’t know what we are talking about? Have your normally dry palms become so sweaty you couldn’t even hold onto a football? When you speak, does that upper lip suddenly get stuck to your front teeth? Do you feel like you just swallowed a large walnut? We will be exploring the mental and physical aspects of speaking in front of others in the next few blogs.
Establishing credibility in your presentations includes more than sharing technical knowledge. It is imperative to build trust, conduct engaging rapport with your audience, know your competition’s business, and present a confident, professional image that says you are serious about doing an exemplary job.
One critical component is body language, where the real truth lies! If you look carefully, you can “see” what they’re saying by the signals their bodies radiate. When delivering a presentation or engaging in conversation, it is crucial to pick up on nonverbal signals for the most successful communications. Why? Because 55% of our message is non-verbal (how we look, act, sit stand, enter a room, our posture, movements & gestures, handshake, what do with our hands, how high we hold our head); 38% is voice quality (expressions, pitch and tone), while only 7% are the actual words spoken. Whether meeting others for the first time or the tenth, it is critical to project a confident, friendly demeanor that says, “I want to build–or continue building–a mutually rewarding relationship with you.” What you say is almost always outweighed by what you “do” during your presentation. Gestures and facial expressions tell others how you feel about your products and services, as well as how you feel about the audience, not to mention how you feel about yourself and your abilities.
Tips for More Confident Presentations
- First and foremost, your goal is not to close a sale during your presentation but to open a relationship that lasts for years. This viewpoint is effective and helps take the pressure off making a quick sale.
- Prospects can tell if you are just selling but they can also tell if you are excited about making their lives easier. At the end of a presentation would you like to hear, “This special is just for today so why don’t we write up your order so you can take advantage of it.” Or, while you are in front of your prospects, you say, “This new process should shave at least an hour off of your information-gathering process each day.” Now that can give a presenter confidence! Who wouldn’t want the extra time for other job duties!
- Demonstrations, audience participation, and true stories give credibility, can be fun and informative, and help your audience relate to why they should also buy from you.
- Look the part of the successful business person. It only takes seven seconds to make a good impression, one that can prompt the listener to “want to hear more” or move on to their smartphone emails.
- Apply a lubricant like Vaseline (just a dab) on your top teeth so your lips won’t get stuck in that rather amusing position.
- Roll on a thin layer of antiperspirant in your palms to help control the dreaded sweaty palm.
- With mouth closed, swallow hard while slightly extending your chin outward. This can be done in a way that is not noticeable and helps clear your throat for a stronger voice.
- Be warm, engaging, serious when necessary, maintain good eye contact, and exhibit the utmost in sincerity.
If you are you among the 54% of adults who are more afraid of public speaking than death, you are missing one of the most powerful ways to market yourself, get your message out, and create new income opportunities! You CAN learn the techniques to move forward!
Stay tuned for tips on how to change your audience’s interest by what you do with your non-verbal signals.
For virtual presentation skills training, effective learning transfer and the opportunity to monitor your progress on YOUR time schedule, go to http://www.presentationgym.net/training/coach_bio/21.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rita Rocker is a national inspirational and educational speaker, communications and image specialist, and a career and virtual presentations coach with Transformation Academy, LLC. She is the author of “A Guide to Marketing Yourself for Success”, and a contributing author to “The Unstoppable Woman’s Guide to Emotional Well Being -The Total Woman in Leadership and Success Guide for the Unstoppable Entrepreneur.” She has appeared on national television and radio talk shows on self-esteem and communication. A former Mrs. Nebraska and active in numerous professional organizations, Rita is on the Board of the Small Business Association of the Midlands and co-director of greater Omaha’s Affiliated Women International. Rita provides life and career-transforming programs to mature teens and adults. Contact Rita at firstname.lastname@example.org.