People often ask me “James, I have to deliver a sales presentation to my clients next week. Do you have any tips for me so that I can deliver a good presentation ?”
A simple question, but requires a very comprehensive answer. It depends on where each person’s weakness is. Where do I begin ?
Let’s try to approach the problem based on where the problem is. Here are some typical situations
Just Plain Nervous
Often, the problem is not that bad. It’s just plain nervousness. Many people have the misperception that nervous is bad, that they should not be nervous, that being nervous is embarrassing, that if the audience sees that they are nervous, then that will create a negative perception.
Not true !!
Being nervous is perfectly normal ! Sometimes we mix up being excited with being nervous. Often it’s a combination of both ! Some months ago, when I was invited to speak to almost 2000 people – in Moscow, in a in-door stadium, to Russians who did not understand English, my seminar had to be translated into Russian, for a ONE DAY seminar, I was excited, and I was nervous. I was excited that I was given this opportunity, I was excited that I could test my ability and expand my comfort zone, I was excited that after the seminar was over, I could proudly say that I have spoken in front of 2000 Russians in Moscow for one whole day, and that the response was fantastic ! I was excited about all that… But I was nervous too ! All the “what if’s…” came to my mind. What if they wouldn’t laugh at my jokes ? What if they had already learnt all that I was going to teach them ? What if I couldn’t hold their attention and interest for one whole day (7 hours?), what if… what if…
The most important thing was this… I was nervous, but I did not panic. I did not tell myself that being nervous was bad. I knew that being nervous was NORMAL. So I told myself, “OK, I’m nervous, that’s fine, but I still have to go out and do a good seminar ! Life goes on. Nervous is all part of the fun. Let’s do it !”
James Gwee T.H., MBA 1
But the truth is, there are several reasons why we are nervous.
Not Experienced
Fine. So what are we going to do about that ? We just have to keep doing it, and accumulate experience, right ? I was nervous because I had never spoken in front of a 2000-strong Russian audience in Moscow. I had never experienced it. I was not experienced with that audience. That made me nervous. But I did it nevertheless. Am I more experienced now ? Yes ! After that experience, will I be nervous again the next time I’m asked to speak to 2000 Russians in Moscow ? Of course I’ll be nervous again ! It may be a different audience, it may be the same audience, but with a higher expectation this second time. Of course I’ll be nervous ! That’s part of the fun ! But I’m sure I’ll be less nervous than the first time because of my experience. I know what to expect… So you see, experience does not make you NOT nervous, it just makes you LESS nervous because you know what to expect.
So are you nervous because it is the VERY FIRST TIME IN YOUR LIFE that you are doing a sales presentation ? If yes, then being nervous is normal. If you’ve done sales presentations before, and you are still nervous, then that’s also normal. But at least, you can depend on your experience as a back-up. Think of all the times that you had delivered your sales presentations and that the results had been OK, or good. Think of all the times that you felt satisfied with your presentations Those memories will strengthen you.
The good news is that your nervousness will not last throughout your presentation. You will feel nervous for the first 5 minutes perhaps. But once you start explaining the contents of your presentation, you will soon forget about your nervousness and start discussing more serious issues.
Not Prepared
This is more difficult because honestly, it’s difficult to hide your lack of knowledge / preparation. Why are you not prepared ? Because you were given short notice by your boss, or because you did not do your homework ? There are ways that you can handle this :
Proceed with the presentation and hope that you are able to handle all questions despite your lack of preparation
Request for a 1-2 days postponement so that you have some time to prepare
Proceed with the presentation, but narrow the scope of the presentation so that the scope covers only those areas that you feel you can handle…
Often this is the biggest cause of nervousness. You are worried that things might not go smoothly. You are worried that :
James Gwee T.H., MBA 2
The audience will fall asleep
The audience will laugh at you
The audience will not respect you
The audience will reject you
The audience will be hostile to you
The audience will ask you questions that you cannot handle
You will forget what you have to say in the middle of the presentation
You cannot remember exactly the words that you are trying so hard to memorize
The computer will stop working in the middle of your presentation
Just remember that life is never perfect. Some things will go wrong. Nothing ever goes very, very smoothly. In my 12 years as a seminar speaker, things do go wrong. The room layout is not according to my specifications. The computer cable is not suitable. The LCD projector breaks down. There is a power failure in the middle of my presentation. I forget to bring the disk containing my files, the audience is not what I expected, some people fall asleep in the middle of my presentation, some people ask difficult question, I was unable to answer some of the questions that were asked to me, I forget people’s names, I call people by the wrong name, etc, etc, etc….
Things do go wrong. Are we expected to be perfect? No! People accept it that once in a while, things do not go 100% as planned. It’s OK. That’s part of life’s ups and downs. Are you expected to have the mort correct and eloquent answers to every question that you are asked ? No ! You are not an expert system nor an encyclopedia, you don’t have ALL the answers, it’s OK. Saying “I don’t know is often better than lying and pretending that you know.”
Remember, the main point is NOT whether or not problems happen. The important thing is WHAT DO YOU DO (how do you react) when these problems happen ? Do you handle as if “it’s normal, things like these happen, it’s OK”, or do you panic and keep telling yourself “Oh my God, I screwed it, I’ve made a mess of things, I’m so useless, it’s so embarrassing, they must think that I’m an idiot !”. We can never predict to 100% accuracy what will happen, but we are ALWAYS in control of our reaction/response when things like these happen.
Do don’t panic! It’s OK. Life goes on. 6 months / 6 years from now, you’ll be laughing at it all.
In the next article, we’ll be discussing other interesting things about Presentations.
quoted from:
SeminarSeumurHidup.com | Pintu Gerbang Kesuksesan Bersama James Gwee

beauty butterfly

an illustration about the transformation


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