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Overcoming Nerves When Giving a Presentation

Giving a presentation doesn’t always come naturally, especially when standing in front of a crowd isn’t your forte. It’s a skill that takes time to learn and perform just like singing or acting.
As much as you practice, though, one thing can derail you: stage fright. It’s a whole different experience when you’re rehearsing in a confined and controlled environment compared to when standing in front of a crowd.
Fear is inevitable. It is the usual initial feeling people have when they’re aware that something bad can happen. However, most find themselves harboring and being crippled by that possibility for a long time. Ever heard of Murphy’s Law?
You don’t have to experience the same fate. As long as you know how to avoid or fight it—and improve despite of and because of it—you won’t ever have to deal with bothersome stage frights. 

Getting Rid of Presentation Stage Fright in Two Simple Ways | Frighting on stage

Finding a Cure to Presentation Anxiety

Fighting off anxiety can be challenging. You never know when it will come and attack you. When it affects you, you feel weak, not knowing when it will go away. But fear isn’t a physical barrier. In fact, it‘s all in your head. You created it, and you can eliminate it.
Anxiety occurs when you anticipate a bad event. It’s normal to feel anxious when you’re in a stressful situation. And it grows when you keep believing it’s true. The only way to destroy it is by understanding that it’s all in your mind and becoming proactive on it.
Ask yourself the following questions: “What am I being anxious about?” “Where did it come from?” “Is now the time to think about it?” “Will it help me deliver my presentation?” Rationalizing points out the weight of your problem and its urgency. Breaking down your worries and your responsibilities helps you decide how to move along on your work. Instead of entertaining that fear, rehearse your pitch in your head. Your anxiety will be addressed by focusing on the task at hand. Stay on track and don’t let your mind wander off. Mentally pushing the nuisance to the far end of the room will make it leave. 

Getting Rid of Presentation Stage Fright in Two Simple Ways | Relax

Preventing Stage Fright Successfully

There are many reasons why presenters experience anxiety before and during a presentation. Apart from anticipating a faulty performance, procrastination, laziness, and carelessness are the other elements that trigger it. . Sometimes, the reason why you anticipate mistakes is because you know they are consequences of something you did wrong in the past. Maybe there’s a gap in your presentation that you deliberately neglected or maybe you can’t help but think about the practices you should have not missed. These simple yet reoccurring things can make you feel anxious on your big presentation day.
Crafting a great presentation takes much research and preparation. Being able to come up with great research takes a lot of effort and time. And on top of all that hard work, it also takes a lot of practice to make sure you feel ready to present your deck.
When you care to invest that much to prepare your pitch, consequences that make you anxious won’t get in the way. Instead, you gain confidence and feel empowered enough to present your pitch with your head held high. 

Getting Rid of Presentation Stage Fright in Two Simple Ways

Prepare, Present, and Prosper.

There’s no way of telling what’s going to happen next. Why waste time being fearful of outcomes you’re not even sure will happen? If you place fear in the present, you’ll see that it has no business being there. Your presentation should be the only thing on your mind when you walk onstage. The dialogue between you and your audience is your priority. Focus so that nothing can change the way you planned to deliver your pitch.
Remember that prevention is better than cure. Make time to prepare your deck and rehearse your performance. Learn how to present your deck better than the last time. Nobody becomes a public speaking expert overnight. Plan your slides carefully and practice your lines.
Lastly, don’t fear judgement or fill your mind with worry. You have the power to stop self-sabotaging thoughts. 

Resources:

Bellamy, Wallace J. “Fear… It’s All in Your Head.” DrBellamyDMD.com. July 12, 2016. www.drbellamydmd.com/patient-education/fear-its-all-in-your-head
Esposito, Janet. “Conquering Stage Fright.” Anxiety and Depression Society of America. n.d. www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder/treatment/conquering-stage-fright
Maina, Antony. “16 Ways to Overcome Stage Fright When Speaking in Public.” Small Business Trends. October 6, 2015. www.smallbiztrends.com/2015/10/overcome-stage-fright-speaking-in-public.html
Purtill, Corinne. “Murphy’s Law Is Totally Misunderstood and Is in Fact a Call to Excellence.” Quartz. May 16, 2017. www.qz.com/984181/murphys-law-is-totally-misunderstood-and-is-in-fact-a-call-to-excellence
Reynolds, Garr. “Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery,” 2nd ed. Berkeley, CA: New Riders. 2012.
“Managing Presentation Nerves: Coping with the Fear Within.” Mind Tools. n.d. www.mindtools.com/pages/article/PresentationNerves.htm

Answering the 3 Frequently Asked Questions in a Business Presentation

Engaging into a question and answer session with the audience is the best way for you to get feedback. Being offered their opinion about how you did and how well the whole talk was makes your presentation more engaging and further clarifies the points you’ve made. Additionally, it gives you insights on how you can make better presentations in the future.
You won’t be able to cover every detail during your business presentation, so it’s important to always anticipate questions beforehand. While the three following queries seem simple enough on their own, don’t underestimate your audience’s ability to catch you off guard. It’s a good idea to be prepared for any variation of…

Business Presentation Question #1: What do you do?

Question #1: What do you do?

The beginning of your deck should include an introduction that contains your contact details and a brief primer of your company. But this kind of information isn’t enough for the audience to know what your business is all about.
Your deck should cover every possible aspect of the purpose, service, and benefit that you provide while avoiding delays caused by an overly detailed discussion. If you have to reexplain your introduction towards the end of your business presentation, don’t just assume that the audience didn’t pay enough attention.
This type of question could mean that you didn’t spend enough time to explain your purpose or that your audience simply wants to know more details. Especially with the latter, that tells of their curiosity. Aren’t you glad they’re interested?

Business Presentation Question #2: What's your product?

Question #2: What’s your product?

There are several ways to phrase this question: “How does this product benefit your prospects?” “How useful is it?” “Is it worth the investment?” In other words, why should they choose you?
You should be able to answer all those questions and provide concrete reasons to support your claims. Going into detail with this particular question in mind is good since this means that your audience is curious about your brand. This is a way for you to slowly build up their trust. Knowing your product well adds to your credibility.
Seal the deal by convincing your prospects that your offer is worth their time and resources.
Business Presentation Question #3: How long does it take?

Question #3: How long does it take?

This type of question asks for specificity. It shows that the audience is thinking, “How soon will I start seeing results?”
Provide a financial projection that gives a realistic assessment of your project. Tell them when they can expect to see the results and only promise what you can deliver on time and on a realistic budget.
Scott Gerber, entrepreneur and angel investor, learned the hard way from being rejected by investors for his company. One of the most important lessons he learned was that venture capitalists that have seen it all can gauge the feasibility of your plans, so be realistic and avoid aiming for a multimillion investment without the experience to back it up.
You’ll know how eager your audience is when you hear them ask about your project timetable. Being asked this at the end of your business presentation usually means you’ve generated enough interest that’ll soon translate to sales. 

Final Thoughts

Keep your answers short and concise since you’re nearing the end of your presentation. Concise answers are easier to remember and will help end your presentation on time.
The responses you receive will help gauge your own persuasiveness as a speaker. So don’t be content with a silent response. Get the ball going by answering some of these questions by reiterating your main points.
The success of your pitch depends on how well you respond to these FAQs. Don’t let the simplicity of these questions fool you; prepare how to answer them beforehand. 

Resources:

Gerber, Scott. “6 Steps to the Perfect Pitch.” Entrepreneur. May 21, 2009. www.entrepreneur.com/article/201826
Greene, Charles. “Presentation Skills: 5 Tips to Improve Your Q&A.” CharlesGreene.com. August 27, 2012. www.charlesgreene.com/2012/08/5-tips-to-improve-your-qa-sessions
Pivovarov, Artur. “Presentation Skills. Unit 8: Dealing with Questions.” SlideShare. May 1, 2012. www.slideshare.net/ArturPivovarov/unit-8-12763217
“Conducting a Q&A Session.” Boundless. n.d. www.boundless.com/communications/textbooks/boundless-communications-textbook/delivering-the-speech-12/managing-q-a-68/conducting-a-q-a-session-268-4213