Two Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Presenting

Many will shy away from attending a business networking event because they are concerned about public speaking and making a presentation. Here are two tips to help take away the worry and support you through your first experiences.

Talking on a one to one basis is so different to public speaking and if you do get nervous it is perfectly natural to feel this way. Have you ever made a presentation? If you have and you’re like me then you’ve probably suffered from the same symptoms.

Fast heartbeat
Sweaty palms
Feeling nauseous
Audience blindness

When I first started attending business networking events I used to feel exactly the same when it came to presenting my sixty seconds (or elevator pitch as some call it). The vast majority of my business is gained through networking so it’s an essential part of my daily routine. Fortunately I’ve managed to overcome my fear of presenting with these two great business networking tips.

Prepare your pitch, you may only have sixty seconds or two minutes and believe me, that isn’t long so you need be ready. Run it through so that you know exactly how long it lasts. The worst thing you can do is run over and divert from your script as all you’ll do is succeed in talking about nothing in particular and bore the pants off most of your audience.

From a content point of view, consider what it is that you want to get across, what is that unique point? Think also about who it is that you are trying to get in touch with, remember that you’re not selling to your audience, you are trying to get them to understand your products and services so that they can recommend them to others and refer those potential clients back to you.

For the actual presentation, the fact that you have timed it and run through it will have not done any harm. No doubts you’re still going to be nervous and all the symptoms above will still be there but here’s a great tip for how to keep it in control.

It’s quite simple but it takes a little practice. Firstly let me ask you a question. What’s the difference between a presentation and a conversation? It’s just the number of people.

When we hold a conversation with one or two people we know that we are in close proximity because we can see other faces and make eye contact. When making a presentation, we get nervous because there are a lot of people so if we can make ourselves think that we only holding a conversation then the nerves will disappear.

The trick is to make eye contact with one person for 5 seconds, then another and another. Really pick people out and talk to them as though they are individuals. When you talk to an audience, you’re eyes skip around and you see nothing and so get nervous. If you change the eye contact, look out for the step change in your level of nervousness.

Practice focusing on one person at a time and make sure that you count to five in your head before moving onto the next person. Where to start? I always start by talking to the prettiest face in the audience and work from there. If there’s someone that you know in the audience, try talking to them first and it will put you at ease.

These two tips have revolutionised my performance and success rate at business networking events, practice them and I hope that they work for you too.

Presenting the iPhone 4

June 7th was the day-the fourth coming. Steve Jobs presented the iPhone 4 at WWDC (Apple Worldwide Developers Conference). When Gray Powell forgot the next generation iPhone at a bar, it seemed it did to Apple what telling kids there’s no Santa does to Christmas. Many thought the leak took part of the magic away and people wouldn’t care about the next Apple announcement.

Those people seriously underestimated Steve Jobs’ ability to get nerds everywhere all hot and bothered. And he did just that at WWDC, where he got loud cheers and confessions of love shouted at him. You’d think he was Justin Beiber talking to a group of teen girls. But we’re done with the analogies, here’s the specs.

iPhone 4 is the skinniest of them all. Jobs said iPhone 4 is 24% thinner than the predecessors and is now the thinnest smartphone. It’s not just the size making iPhone 4 a looker but also the new design. It has steel around the sides and glass on the front and back. The screen looks better with four times the pixel density. This means sharper text and brighter, clearer images.

Apple listened to some of the complaints. iPhone 4 has a longer battery life-seven hours 3G talk, six hours 3G browsing, 10 hours WiFi browsing, 10 hours video watching, 40 hours music listening and 300 hours of standby. For the mega-nerds, gyroscope has been added which makes gaming even better.

What will probably convince more people to buy iPhone 4 is the new camera system. There’s a lens in front and back, flash, tap to focus and 5x digital zoom. The pictures taken by the new iPhone really did look better than what was cellphone picture precedent. Video can now be recorded in HD and an iMovie app is available to do some serious movie editing.

Other fun apps coming to all iPhones this summer include FarmVille and Netflix. Now, with multitasking (finallllllyyyy), you can watch a movie while periodically checking on your imaginary farm. Or, listen to Pandora as you check e-mails and browse sites.

Apple’s also added iBooks for the iPhone, for those people who want to destroy their eye sight. The nice thing is iBooks is synced between iPhone, iPod and iPad automatically and for free. If you read to page 57 on your iPhone and later use the iPad, it will open to page 57. Neat.

Sorry Verizon customers, there was no announcement of an iPhone for you. Jobs talked nicely of AT&T and it seems there’s no upcoming divorce. He’s just never going to leave them for you.

AT&T customers, if your contract is up anytime in 2010 you can upgrade to iPhone 4 right away. Jobs said how nice this is of AT&T. And by nice he means, an obvious way to make sure you stay with the cell company for two more years and give them more money. Right. Nice. And it’s nice of you, Steve, to keep making awesome products we can’t afford but buy anyway. They’re all just so pretty.

When it seemed Jobs was wrapping it all up, he threw out a surprise (as usual). It’s called FaceTime and it’s pretty damn cool. Any owner of the latest iPhone can video chat with other iPhone 4 owners. Wow! Then Jobs presented a commercial of people using FaceTime. When it cut to two people signing over the iPhone to communicate, it got everyone right in the heart. Now we know we need an iPhone 4…and to learn sign language. Unfortunately, FaceTime only works over WiFi for the remainder of the year.

Pre-orders for iPhone 4 start June 15 and the mobs will surround all Apple and AT&T stores starting June 24th. iPhone 4 is available in black or white and 16 or 32 GB. It costs $199 (16 GB) and $299 (32 GB). Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 4, is available this summer for free to all iPhone owners but some nifty features like multitasking will only work on 3GS-sorry regular 3G, but you can buy a 3GS 8 GB for $99 now.

The iPhone 4 isn’t the only belle of the ball. Jobs obviously talked about the iPad as well, giving updates on its sales and happy owners. But since the iPhone 4 is a little more affordable and newer news, it’ll be all the talk at the water cooler this week.

Home Buyer Negotiating Mistakes – Part 2

Exhibiting Urgency. Few things sap negotiating power like exhibiting urgency. Agents smell urgency and will encourage the seller to drag their feet until you can’t stand it anymore and make a full-price offer. Remember, a real estate agent representing a seller is legally obligated to get the most money possible for the seller. If you have to be out of your house in 45 days because the buyer is closing and taking occupancy, keep it to yourself. If the seller or agent senses this, kiss your chances of negotiating anything goodbye. Remember, always play the reluctant buyer. You are looking at several attractive options and you are perfectly comfortable staying in your current house for the next year. Many times, if you are a serious buyer, the real estate agent or the seller will try to drag an offer, even a lower offer, out of you. Then you know you are shifting the momentum in your favor.

Trusting a Real Estate Agent to Negotiate for You. Don’t. Do. IT! As I said, real estate agents have little required training in negotiation to get a license. Furthermore, most real estate agents, even buyer’s agents, are still paid based on a percentage of the sales price of the house. And they are paid by the seller. Just think about the conflict of interest this creates. Consider that the seller is representing his or her best interests. The seller’s real estate agent is representing the seller’s best interests. The buyer’s agent (your agent) is getting paid based on what the house sells for so they are representing their own best interests. Who is looking out for you? You are. Ensure you know how to protect yourself. Because if your agent negotiates a better deal for you, that is money out of their pocket. This doesn’t mean that no agent will negotiate for you. There are some excellent buyer’s agents out there that will aggressively protect the buyer’s money. I highly recommend using a real estate buyer’s agent for a variety of reasons. Just make sure you have one of the good, experienced ones and not one that is protecting their money.

Offering Too Much Initially for a House. In negotiation, always offer lower than you expect to get. Offering too high doesn’t leave you sufficient room to arrive at your goals. People have an overwhelming tendency to end up in the middle of the range between asking price and offer price. That means you have some control in determining where the middle is. A friend of mine was recently negotiating a new home. The asking price was $349,000. My friend offered $275,000. The actual sales price: $310,000. What chance do you think my friend would have had in obtaining a sales price of $310,000 had he started out at $305,000? Zero. Remember, sellers price their homes high expecting to be negotiated down. Your first offer, and the manner in which you increase your offer, have significant influence on what you eventually pay for your home.

When you decide to buy your home, make sure you adequately prepare and avoid these costly mistakes. Understand that you must be the person looking after your best interests and that you may very likely be the only one. Gathering sufficient information and learning a few brown-bag negotiating skills can save you tens of thousands of dollars when you buy your home.