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.