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Presentation Anxiety

What are some helpful tips you can provide that you have found to be useful in easing public speaking or presentation stress?


Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

This discussion should also work for you....

Ernie Humphrey CTP
Title: CEO & COO
Company: Treasury Webinars
LinkedIn Profile
(CEO & COO, Treasury Webinars) |

Great question. First, no matter how many time you do it, public speaking makes anyone a bit nervous. I look at it as being a stand-up comic. Some days I am really on my game and others I am not quite at the peak of my game. I prepare so that my worst day is better than 95% of other presenters on their best day. Knowing your material and your audience is key as well as being able to read your audience. Their facial expressions, and actions, will tell you if you have their attention and are engaging them.

There is no substitute for practice so take and make opportunities for public speaking. Also, make sure you know the top 3-5 things you want those who listen to you to take-away from your presentation. I.E., what is the ROI of the time someone will receive for listening to you.

One final note, be yourself when you speak, that will mitigate your nervousness. If you are animated and have high energy use it, if you are not "funny" do not try and be.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Ernie - you're always on your game....

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Practice. Practice what you're going to say out loud. Practice possibly in front of the mirror. Then practice in front of an audience (preferably human - my dog thinks I'm Einstein, my wife, that's a different story).

Practice with whatever AV supplemental items you will use. It's nice that you got your speech down, but if you can't sync it up with the PPT, then you have a problem.

Lastly, Pick a few friendly faces in the audience, and distribute these faces throughout (front row, middle rows, far rows. Tell your speech to them. Now you are only speaking to three or four people. Also, the audience feels that you are talking to them, either in the front, middle of back.

Lastly, you know you prepared, you know your material, go in and have fun!

Courtney O'Callaghan
Title: Director of Financial Reporting
Company: Insurance Company NJ
(Director of Financial Reporting, Insurance Company NJ) |

Memorize your first 2-3 sentences and your concluding sentence.

This trick (from Toastmasters) has always helped me.

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

Join your local Toastmasters club and then go weekly for practice.

Ernie Humphrey CTP
Title: CEO & COO
Company: Treasury Webinars
LinkedIn Profile
(CEO & COO, Treasury Webinars) |

Yeah, welcome back Cindy!!!

Lynn Fountain
Title: MBA CGMA CRMA, Past Chief Audit Executiv..
Company: Business Consultant
LinkedIn Profile
(MBA CGMA CRMA, Past Chief Audit Executive, Business Consultant) |

I find the best presentations and the ones you will gain the most attention from are those that don't sound "rehearsed". Be yourself. Even if you are presenting to the Board of Directors, be personable and attentive to their reactions. Watch the audience. You will knowing you are getting your point across or if some appear confused. If you see these signs, stop and ask "what can I explain better" or "does anyone have questions". Make eye contact with your audience. That will keep them engaged. Avoid standing in one spot or behind a podium. It is to easy for the audience to let their minds wander. If there eye contact follows your movements they will be more engaged. Also, use voice inflection if you see anyone nodding off

David Smith
Title: Manager
Company: Private
(Manager, Private) |

I got much out of this course on presentation skills:

Still not ecstatic over public speaking, but do feel more confident by having a game plan.

ArLyne Diamond
Title: Owner - President
Company: Diamond Associates
LinkedIn Profile
(Owner - President, Diamond Associates) |

Several thoughts come to mind - not necessarily in the order of importance but:
- Almost all members of the audience are on your side - they want to see you succeed. Pick out a few friendly faces and look at them as you present. Think about them as you prepare to present.
- Be prepared - and well rehearsed. Feel good about your knowledge.
- Be well dressed and groomed - feel really good about the way you look when presenting. As superficial as this might sound, it is critically important.
- Be early.
- Be early.
- Be early so that you can go off to a quiet place and do some deep breathing exercises before your presentation.
- and oh - get enough sleep and don't over stimulate yourself beforehand.
- oh, did I say be early?

Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

Something that has helped me as I've presented to the state chapter of a national nonprofit was to make my presentation conversational.

I present and talk about a few slides from the presentation, then I'll ask if anyone has had different experiences. We can talk through those differences. My hope is that someone in the room can glean a little more, perhaps better, information from others in the room. As full of myself as I am, I try to remember that I'm not the smartest person in the room.

For me, personally, I find it easier to have a conversation in front of 30-50 people than I do regurgitating information to them. I also think it helps them to stay involved.

During my presentations, I toss out candy to people who comment, answer questions, and ask questions. I got that trick from a CPE course I attended where the presenter passed out Jack Daniel's airplane bottles to participants, as well as candy and small trinkets--like stress balls.


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