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3 Ways to Overcome Presentation Failures [Infographic]

Nobody wants to make decisions that’ll endanger not only their lives but also others’. Similarly, no presenter wants to come short of an audience’s expectations. Still, we’ve all made poor choices in the past, encountered unexpected stumbling blocks, or messed up our performances. These incidents may be humiliating, but nevertheless, the journey continues.

When faced with a difficult and life-altering decision, how do you respond? Will you look backward, or will you choose to move forward?

Presentation trainer Ellen Finklestein identifies decision-making as an important factor in presentations. You won’t be able to achieve your objectives and reach a conclusive decision without assessing the situation. So before you act, you need to analyze the current circumstances to figure out your next move.

Picture the ProblemPicture the Problem, walking dead: scared

Failures are like zombies that eat up your courage, draining your energy, and sapping away all hope. They may end up killing you from the inside out, but you shouldn’t give in to panic. You should view danger from a different perspective and overcome your nerves.

If your previous pitch has left you disappointed, it’s for you to decide whether you want to look at it positively or negatively. Problems may continue to arise if you let panic and anxiety take over. This is why you need to identify these possible challenges before you set out. With preparation, you’ll devise a solution that’ll lead you to fulfilling your goals decisively.

Once you’ve made the decision to continue, don’t get distracted by your surroundings and start focusing on what lies ahead. Drive out the negative emotions and motivate yourself with these three tips: Start psyching yourself up for your pitch minutes before you start. Do some breathing exercises and other warm-ups that will calm you down and let you collect your thoughts.

1. Gather Your Couragewalking dead: Show courage

Thinking or speaking negatively about yourself isn’t helpful. This sabotages not only your own self-esteem but also your audience’s perception of you. Positive self-talk reveals your worth and boosts your confidence. A positive outlook gives you the strength to come up with the best results despite all of the challenges you’re facing. Boost your self-esteem through positive self-talk and awareness. Redirect your attention from internal fears to your outer responsibilities. Doing so will distract you from presentation anxiety.

Remind yourself constantly that you can do all things you set your mind on.

2. Keep Movingsetting your goal

There will always be some audience members that won’t agree with your sales presentation. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from going out there and gutting it out with grit and determination. Remember, once you’re in, there’s no turning back.

Instead of thinking about where you would go wrong, focus on organizing your content’s points from the most to the least important. Then convince yourself that you can pull off a better pitch this time around. Also consider the possibility that even if you present your ideas well, disagreement between you and some of your audience will happen. Don’t shut out your critics entirely and deflect feedback that goes against your own opinions. Encourage comments, whether good or bad, to identify what areas you’re doing well in and what you need to work on. Answer any inappropriate remarks calmly without losing your cool. Ask them to expound and clarify their questions so you can come up with a better response. As the speaker, it’s your job to keep a professional and credible image throughout your presentation.

As a professional speaker, you need to stay focused to survive your pitch and avoid delaying your success. Drop what’s holding you back and face everything with courage.

3. Focus on Your Goalwalking dead: braveness, eagerness self motivated

Shake off any doubt you may still have and start concentrating on what you want to achieve. Plan ahead to avoid distracting the crowd with unnecessary and unrelated ideas during your pitch. Aside from prompting audience feedback, establish your credibility by sticking to your main points. Avoid telling unrelated anecdotes or elaborating on unnecessary information.

Failure isn’t an option. When you stumble, stand up and keep moving forward. Exert even more effort to improve your chances and excel at what you do best. Concentrate on the key reasons why you went onstage in the first place to stay on topic.

Never Give Up!walking dead: fight back

These points explain why it’s important to prepare before your presentation. Finish your deck and content a few days early so you can practice how you’ll be presenting them.

A presentation mishap can take a toll on your confidence, but don’t let it eat you up forever. Bounce back from past errors and handle yourself gracefully when facing a new pitch. Mistakes are there to help you grow, so don’t be too bent on being perfect. Even the best speakers had their slip-ups.

Your future as a presenter depends on the seed of decisions that you choose to plant now. Make a decisive effort to gather your courage,  keep moving, and focus on your goal to guide you along the way.

When failures haunt you, overpower them with positive thoughts, telling them that you’re a great and professional presenter.

Failure is a frame of mind. Don’t let it get the best of you. Check out our infographic to overcome and combat these presentation failures.

Check out and share our infographic about moving on from presentation failures!

References

Finkelstein, Ellen. “Using Presentations for Decision-Making.” Ellen Finkelstein, July 11, 2011. www.ellenfinkelstein.com/pptblog/using-presentations-for-decision-making
“The Four Keys to Overcoming Negative Thinking…For Good.” Mrs. Mindfulness. 2013. www.mrsmindfulness.com/the-four-keys-to-overcoming-negative-thinkingfor-good

Three Major Presentation Fears and How to Cope With Them

Fears related to public speaking are some of the most common phobias. Take control of these fears and make the best out of all your chances to achieve success.

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We’ve broken down three big issues that can give you jitters, along with valuable ways to stomp them out for good.

Self-Consciousness

Your greatest enemy is yourself.

Specifically, it’s your own self-consciousness. Being self-critical increases your awareness of your flaws and shortcomings. There are times that you may worry over minute details and prevent yourself from properly preparing for your speech.

Stop thinking about yourself and focus instead on your presentation’s goals and objectives. Efficient planning and detailed goal-setting fine-tune your message and guide you towards more efficient and timely preparation. You’re the best tool that can deliver your message, so always be prepared.

Inevitable Mistakes and Errors

Mistakes can’t always be avoided. They can come in the form of a stutter, a misplaced slide, tripping on a small obstacle, or forgetting parts of your speech.

The sooner you accept the inevitability of making mistakes, the sooner you’ll realize that it’s easy to redirect your fears into constructive action towards self-improvement. It’s important, however, to refrain from apologizing. Pointing out what you did wrong when others may not have noticed draws attention to the mistake and reduces your credibility.

Make a conscious effort to learn from your errors and improve to set yourself on the right track to becoming a better presenter.

Repeating Past Errors

Previous fumbles can have repercussions on an upcoming speech, especially if you’re expecting to present in front of a familiar audience. This shouldn’t stop you from doing your job.

Just because you’ve slipped before doesn’t mean you’ll do it again for no reason. Be optimistic about your current presentation, and minimize all room for error by studying past mistakes and preparing as much as possible for it.

As we’ve discussed previously, credibility is a dynamic concept. If you’ve followed and imbibed the second tip, then you’ll have improved on your past mistakes, whether they’re from your previous pitches, or just five seconds ago.

Don’t immediately look at a mistake as a lost cause. Instead, grab it as an opportunity to surprise your audience and improve your reputation as an effective and adaptable speaker. Be spontaneous and innovative. You know your presentation best, so you’ll know how to give it a spin when you’ve forgotten what you were about to say, or when you encounter technical difficulties in the middle of your speech.

Conclusion

As a highly social species, we understandably don’t wish to disappoint other people. In the professional world, a bad presentation can affect job opportunities and financial security.

The sooner you conquer your fears, the faster you get on the road to becoming a better presenter.

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References

Overcome Fear of Public Speaking.” anxietycoach. Accessed July 14, 2015.
Presentation Tips: 5 Easy Ways to Establish Your Credibility.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed July 14, 2015.

 

Featured Image: “A leaning child’s view through a skyscraper’s window and glass floor.” from Wikimedia

Presentation Skill: Using Nervousness to Your Advantage

Feeling nervous isn’t unusual. Everybody’s been uncomfortable at least once in their lives, especially when giving speeches or presentations to large groups of people.

Even professionals still experience this from time to time.

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Are you anxious when you’re onstage? It could be because you’re afraid of committing mistakes, receiving negative feedback, or being rejected.

To cope with these, know how to control anxiety to avoid messing up the presentation.

Fight or Flight

This type of response is defined as either facing or escaping from a situation. It’s supposedly a natural coping mechanism that’s triggered by signs of danger in the environment. However, when there’s no actual danger around, you could just be anxious.

Some presenters experience anxiety when speaking in front of a crowd, causing them to perspire and their hearts to beat faster.

However, in a post on Quick and Dirty Tips, pubic speaking coach, Lisa B. Marshall, explains how anxiety can be a type of good stress that allows speakers to be at the top of their game on stage.

How Does It Benefit Your Presentation?

While most presenters are focused on improving their presentation skill, they rarely notice how nervousness affects their performance.

Even if you have an effective PowerPoint presentation, you may fail if you let your nervousness control you.

To prevent this from happening, turn your anxiety around to your advantage:

Know Your Material

One great public speaking fear is suddenly forgetting what’s next on your notes. Occasional lagging is normal in your memory, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Remedy this by conducting advanced research about your topic.

Study your message and rehearse your presentation to reduce uneasiness. Being familiar with your topic will allow you to properly manage your fear because you’ll always have at least a general idea of what you’re talking about.

Speak with Emotions

Talking monotonously to your audience reduces your message’s impact because it’s not suited for building emotional connections.

Emotions are vital when interacting with others. They make us human. We more clearly remember stories when they appeal to our emotions.

Speak with emotion to engage your audience.

Be Confident

To make your audience believe you, believe in yourself first. Being confident means you’re well-prepared, passionate, and focused on delivering your message.

Remember that you know your material better than anybody else, so if you make a mistake that nobody else notices, don’t comment on it. Simply try to do better in the next part of your pitches.

Breathe from the Diaphragm

Most people use their upper chest for respiration since it doesn’t require deep breathing.

However, diaphragmatic breathing releases your tension and normalizes your condition. Taking a deep breath before speaking in public keeps you at ease because it removes panic-causing blood toxins from your body.

Practice deep breathing to manage your anxiety.

Conclusion

Even professional presenters get nervous when facing audiences. However, they pacify their anxiety with careful preparation and breathing with their diaphragm.

Keep these tips in mind and turn negative feelings into an advantage, giving you more confidence the next time you present.

To learn more about effective and powerful presentations, let the SlideGenius experts help you out!

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References

Marshall, Lisa B. “Use Nervous Energy to Your Advantage.” Quick and Dirty Tips. June 20, 2012. Accessed July 3, 2015.
Public Speaking Anxiety: Facts, Stats, and Methods to Beat It.” SlideGenius, Inc. June 11, 2014. Accessed July 3, 2015.

4 Ways to Gain Self-Esteem Like a Presentation Expert

As a presenter, you must speak confidently no matter how large your audience is. Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself.

It not only gives higher levels of confidence, enhanced initiative, but also overall pleasant feelings—all essential for a successful marketing presentation.

If you don’t feel up to the task every time you have a pitch, here are four ways to improve your self-esteem like a presentation expert:

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Engage in Self-Affirmation

You won’t get far if you continuously bring yourself down. Instead, highlight your strengths and recall your positive qualities.

It’s healthy to remind yourself of your successes, big or small. Inevitably, you might self-criticize and blame yourself for past failures. You can’t erase these experiences, but you can learn to handle them positively.

Focus on how much you’ve changed or are willing to change to improve yourself.

Seek Out Nurturing People

Seek out people who make you feel good about yourself. Build on their optimism and ask for their constructive advice for self-improvement. Avoid people who find fault in everything.

Disassociate with people who compare themselves with others. You won’t achieve your best with unfair comparisons. Look for people who support you and appreciate your skills as a better gauge of your worth.

Set Realistic Expectations

Being successful, even with minor tasks, builds self-esteem. Holding yourself to ridiculously high standards only leads to disappointments and lowers your confidence. A project’s failure is not your failure as a person.

Treat these moments as opportunities for further self-improvement.

Even successful people have experienced failure. Look at failures positively and constructively instead of as excuses to never try again.

It’s Okay Not to Be Loved by All

It’s a common error to assume that successful people are universally loved.

It wrongly makes you pander to everyone, when not everyone can possibly like you.

There’s no person in the world who’s loved by everyone. In a large enough group of people, you’ll inevitably meet someone who thinks differently from you or dislikes you. This is perfectly acceptable.

The longer you’ve been struggling, the harder it is to kick the habit. But with enough dedication and patience, it’s perfectly doable.

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References

Baumeister, R. F., J. D. Campbell, J. I. Krueger, and K. D. Vohs. “Does High Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, or Healthier Lifestyles?Psychological Science in the Public Interest 4, no. 1 (2003): 1-44.
Dig into Your Presentation Audience’s Key Learning Styles.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 8, 2015. Accessed May 18, 2015.

Overcome Anxiety Like Presentation Expert Warren Buffett

No one is born with eloquent communication skills, but everyone has the potential to hone these abilities. Even the most famous people in history had the jitters when speaking in public.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is one such business leader who struggled to deliver speeches in front of crowds. At the age of 21, Buffett decided that it was time to overcome his anxiety.

He actually enrolled in a public speaking class but dropped out before it started. “I lost my nerve,” he said.

How did he face his anxieties head-on? Here are some of Buffet’s practical tips on how to manage your performance worries and become a presentation expert:

1. Look for Wholistic Inspiration

Instead of spending so much time worrying, why not look for inspiration? Motivating yourself with other people’s success stories is one way to overcome your fear.

It’s reassuring to see other people overcome the same trials.

At eight years old, Buffett discovered the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. One of the most important lessons he learned was this:

“Rule number one: Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.”

How is this related to presenting ideas? According to Carnegie, “criticism puts people on the defensive,” making them more likely to defend themselves.

Imagine you’re in the middle of your pitch, and somebody in the audience counters what you’ve said. Will you go on the defensive and criticize your audience’s concerns? Or will you humbly accept the criticism and take it as a lesson learned for your future presentations?

Buffett took life advice and applied it to his fears. Taking control of his overall weaknesses allowed him to break through his self-doubt.

Improving yourself as a person also makes you a better speaker. Keep an open mind and treat all lessons as opportunities to hone your abilities.

2. Face Fear with Passion

When you’re associating with people that you love, doing what you love, it doesn’t get any better than that. – Warren Buffett

Think of something scary you’ve always wanted to try. For example, many people want to try bungee jumping at least once in their lives. Most people shy away from it because they dread heights. Should you let this keep you from doing something you’ve always wanted to do?

The same can be said about public speaking. Don’t let fear stop you from pursuing your goals.

Be realistic: What’s the worst thing that can happen if you mispronounce a word? A viewer or two may giggle, and that’s about it. The best case scenario is that nobody notices the mistake at all.

Anticipating the act is more nerve-wracking than actually doing the feat itself.

You may feel nervous waiting for your turn to go onstage, but once you step onto the podium, it’s never as bad as you thought it would be.

In the same way that Warren Buffet eventually faced his fears, you’ll only see what’s ahead of you if you stop looking away from what scares you.

3. Do What You Fear

“Practice makes perfect” is an old adage, but it’s the surefire way to master anything. In fact, a study from the University of Colorado suggested that practice accounts for an individual’s ability to improve and optimize their skills.

When presentation anxiety strikes, practice is your best friend. “You have to get out there and you have to do it. And the sooner you do it, the better,” Buffett said.

Buffett chose to sign back up for the course he once left. He needed to improve, and he realized he could only do this by practicing over and over again. Eventually, he started teaching a night course at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, wherein he taught investment principles to students twice his age.

Practicing your speech doesn’t mean memorizing it. Instead, remember the main points you want to get across, as well as the flow of the discussion. This’ll allow you to talk more naturally as well as be flexible in delivering your ideas. Reciting line by line will only stress you out, and thinking of specific words will make it harder for you to get back on track.

Conclusion

Becoming an effective presenter requires great skills, but what good are they if you’re afraid of showing them off in front of a crowd? That nerve-racking feeling may dent your presentation delivery, but it shouldn’t take over your life.

Don’t let your worries control you. Instead, control your fear. Let it strengthen your ability to receive criticism. Allow it to fuel your enthusiasm for sharing your message with as many people as you can.

Like Warren Buffet, inspire yourself, motivate yourself, and practice as often as you can. The more you do something that scares you, the less frightening it becomes over time.

With enough practice and determination, you may start enjoying your time speaking in front of an audience.

 

References:

5 TED Talk Secrets for Persuasive PowerPoint Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. April 29, 2015. Accessed May 4, 2015.
Ericsson, K. Anders, and Ralf Th Krampe. “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance.” Institute of Cognitive Science, December 1992, 3-68.
Gallo, Carmine. “How Warren Buffett And Joel Osteen Conquered Their Terrifying Fear Of Public Speaking.” Business Insider. May 16, 2013. Accessed May 4, 2015.
Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. New York: Bantam, 2009.
Self-Evaluation Guide after a PowerPoint Presentation.” SlideGenius, Inc. April 22, 2015. Accessed May 4, 2015.

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How to Face Unexpected Presentation Scenarios

While communication, nonverbal cues, and PowerPoint design are all very crucial, there’s one thing that will help you survive any scenario when in front of an audience. That’s to expect the unexpected, especially when you think you’ve got everything planned out.

Even as you prepare for your presentation, there are certain scenarios you won’t be able to foresee. There are things that could happen beyond your control. When that happens, most people get stuck and feel like they failed.

This doesn’t have to be the case if you can adapt to your predicament. When the worst happens, it’s better to face it head on. If you can’t be flexible in front of an audience, you run the risk of stumbling and falling.

Improv actors have mastered this skill with their spontaneous skits and quick thinking. To keep your own performance sharp, here are important improvisation tips to keep in mind:

Focus on the meaning behind your script 

Obsessing too much on what you plan to say point per point can hurt you in the long run. In cases of unexpected blunders and interruptions, sticking to your script can make you feel even more lost than before.

While it’s okay to plan what you want to say, you shouldn’t focus too much on exact delivery. Instead, you should shift your focus on what each point you prepared is trying to say.

Your presentation will be a lot more flexible if you know your core message well. At the end of the day, this is what truly matters.

It doesn’t matter if you miss a few steps along the way. Your main objective is to make sure that the audience understands the main point of your presentation.

In the same light, it’s also important that you don’t focus on your slide deck as much. PowerPoint is only there to enhance the message you want to deliver, but you can’t rely on it to do all of the work.

What if the equipment fails? What if the power goes out? You need to be able to stand on your own feet without using your slides as a crutch.

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Observe your audience 

Take your cue from the people you’re communicating with. Presentations are a two-way street.

You can try to create captivating design and content, but you won’t be able to tell how the audience will receive it until you’re in front of them. As such, it’s important to watch the room for their reactions to learn how you can adjust.

Does the audience look bored? Try to mix it up by engaging them with a quick anecdote. Or maybe your discussion is dragging out too long. If that’s the case, skip some of the parts you planned and deliver all the basics. Do they seem disengaged and uninterested? Maybe you can try to reel them back in by encouraging interaction.

Shoot a question their way or ask a few of them to share their thoughts on the discussion so far.

Let your obstacles empower you 

The best way to be flexible is to make the most of the situation that’s in front of you. Instead of trying to cover up the unexpected derailment, use it as a springboard to jump back on the discussion.

All you have to do is make sure you don’t get stuck on your blunders.

Turn around a sudden interruption from the audience by saying, “thank you for that observation. I’ll get back on that once I finish the whole presentation.” If you can make light of it and add humor, you can do that too. The important thing is that you don’t let the scenario take hold of the rest of your presentation.

You can never tell how well-prepared you are until you get in front of the audience. Even then, you can end up facing something you weren’t exactly planned for.

In that case, it’s better to not let your anxiety get to you and improvise instead. You’ll be surprised that this could even lead you to a better outcome. Improve your presentation skill with these three tips.

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Reference

5 Presentation Tools to Encourage Audience Interaction.” SlideGenius, Inc. January 12, 2015. Accessed January 22, 2015.
Fine-tuning Your Presentation’s Core Message.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 11, 2014. Accessed January 22, 2015.
What Is Improv?Austin Improv Comedy Shows Classes The Hideout Theatre . Accessed January 22, 2015.

 

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