Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Presentation? – How the Pros Make Nervousness Their Friend

“There are two types of speakers. Those who get nervous and those who are liars.”

-Mark Twain

Everyone is afraid of a presentation, physiologically. Toastmasters International reports that the following professionals have admitted to feeling nervous when speaking in public: Mark Twain, Ronald Reagan, Carroll O’Connor, Barbara Streisand, Anthony Quinn, Garrison Keillor, Sally Struthers, George Burns, James Taylor, Liza Minelli, Joan Rivers, and… Mary Sandro. I couldn’t resist adding my name to such a star-studded list!

Many presenters fight their nervousness. They deny it or use it as an excuse for not presenting. The first step to making nervousness our friend is to accept that it is normal. I dare say, the more nervous we are, the better a presenter we can be. The rationale for this seemingly ludicrous claim lies in the physiological understanding of nervousness.

Making a presentation is an opportunity and a challenge. Any time we are faced with a challenge, our bodies produce adrenaline. Psychologists refer to this as the “Fight or Flight” response and there is no way to stop it. It is wired into our genetic makeup and our bodies have been producing adrenaline for thousands of years.

Adrenaline is a fancy word for energy. When we are faced with a challenge, like making a presentation, our bodies produce energy. That almost sounds helpful, doesn’t it? In fact, from this point forward we will never call it nervousness again. We don’t get nervous; we have excess energy! All of those nervous symptoms we experience like dry mouth, shaky knees, hyperventilation, and butterflies are nothing more than excess energy getting the best of us. Now, what if we could take that energy and get the best of it?

Energy is a necessary ingredient for a successful presentation. Nervous presenters have a lot of raw energy available to them, which is why I claim they can become great presenters. This is also why I disagree with the advice most often given to nervous presenters, “Just relax.” This advice is counterproductive and almost physically impossible to execute.

When was the last time you went into a performance or a competition relaxed? Maybe the last time you didn’t perform very well. We need energy. Some call this energy the competitive edge. Some call it inevitable. It’s very difficult to fight thousands of years of evolution. If we think a presentation is a challenge, which it is, our bodies are programmed to produce adrenaline or energy. Instead of trying to fight this natural, helpful phenomenon, why not use it?

The difference between a polished presenter and one who seems to be having a nervous breakdown is not that one is nervous and the other is not. Physiologically they both are producing excess energy. The difference is how they use the energy. Polished presenters use the energy positively. Historically nervous presenters can too.

In general, things exist in pairs, on a pole as opposites. For example, there is hot and cold, light and dark. Things on the same pole can be changed into one another. Light can be changed into dark and hot can be changed into cold, but cold cannot be changed into light. The same is true with emotions.

Emotions exist in pairs, on a pole as opposites. For example, there is happy and sad, love and hate, anxiety and anticipation. Happy and sad are of the same pole and can be changed from one to the other. The same is true with anxiety and anticipation. Nervous presenters allow their energy to manifest as anxiety, while polished presenters channel that energy into anticipation.

The same energy that creates nervousness or anxiety can create anticipation or excitement. There are many strategies for shifting the energy to the higher end of the pole. The most helpful are mental strategies. To keep the energy anticipatory and exciting, focus thoughts on positive aspects of presenting. Visualize only success. Imagine the benefits of presenting and focus on the opportunity rather than the challenge.

Another strategy for shifting the energy is to get in touch with the physical feeling of anxiety in our body. Where is the feeling centered? Is it in the gut, throat, or somewhere else? Once located, move it up one inch higher and notice how the emotion changes. This mental and physical relocation will shift the emotion to the higher, more positive pole of anticipation or excitement. Do this exercise anytime nervousness strikes, even just before the presentation.

To summarize, everyone gets nervous when they present, even the pros. Nervousness is nothing but excess energy that we can use to generate an emotional state of anxiety or anticipation. Be gentle with yourself and make friends with the energy by focusing on the positive aspects of presenting. Know that the energy can propel you to great presentations by giving you the necessary competitive edge.

Wedding Gifts – It’s Time to Present Gifts to Your Parents on Their Anniversary!

As you know, presenting gifts to your beloved is the most excellent medium of generating a good relation with them. Well, there are many relations in our life that have a high significance and influence on our life but the most important and unique relation that can not be competed with others is that of “Parents”. Parents are the only one who really cares for you in the time of need. Therefore, it is quite necessary for you to take good care of them and show your gratitude and love for them by presenting good quality wedding gifts on their anniversary.

Although, it is somehow difficult to find unique and quality wedding gifts to parents but I somehow find a best solution to present gifts to them without any hassle. Below, few vital tips are given that can help you to buy a suitable gift for your parents on their wedding anniversary.

The first idea of buying a good quality wedding gift is “sentimental wedding gifts”. All you have to do is finding a good and sentimental gift that can easily touches the soul of your parents. Experts suggest that idea of presenting a Framed Family Tree is quite interesting because that shows the significance and importance of parents in a different way. You can also mention your whole family background along with a brief history to make the present more valuable.

On the other hand, you can also present wedding gifts like things that are used in their daily routine life. This category of wedding gifts is known as “Practical Gifts” and you can buy whatever you think is necessary for your parents in their daily routine life. This category includes tea or dinner sets, kitchen wares etc.

Presentation Tips for Beginners

An effective, compelling presentation has three clear parts: the introduction, the body and the conclusion.

Try to involve your audience. Inject variety through the use of a whiteboard or PowerPoint bullet points. Invite comment or feedback whenever possible. Questions or comment from the audience provide valuable breaks as well as a chance to regather your thoughts.

Remember – you are there to communicate with your audience, not to talk at them. So use language they find compelling. Paint pictures of events and ideas they can see in their mind. And keep them thinking with occasional questions. Keep them well informed about the structure and length of your presentation. If in doubt – cut it out.

PowerPoint

Keep PowerPoint text to an absolute minimum.

Brief bullet points are fine. But sentences and paragraphs should be avoided. Never read a presentation directly from PowerPoint

PowerPoint is best when used as a prompt. Too much information will send your audience to sleep. Keep them alert through the inclusion of photos, sound files or interesting background graphics.

Top Tips:

1. Encourage questions

2. Introduce props, MPEG clips or product samples

3. Be conversational – don’t rely entirely on notes

4. Smile – it projects confidence

5. Use repetition to ensure key facts sink in

6. Pause for effect on key points

Tips for presenting to a hostile audience:

1. Anticipate the tough questions.

2. Explain early you may not have all the answers.

3. Listen carefully to the question and look directly at the person asking.

4. If you need time to think, repeat the question aloud.

5. Whenever possible, provide an answer linked back to your speech.

6. If you cannot link back, acknowledge their concern and promise to investigate.

7. When appropriate, suggest another person or avenue that might be helpful.

8. Remain calm and helpful. Never show temper or exasperation.

9. Avoid bad body language: crossing arms, shaking head.

10. Keep things moving – respond to another member of the audience.