We all know that first impressions count, and we each have our own confidence-boosting rituals ahead of a big meeting. Crisp, ironed shirts, fresh breath, and a perfected handshake are common tactics, but even the most extrovert of people can get nervous when it comes to present.
In fact, according to Buffalo 7, the presentation design agency, recent survey of 1,000 office workers from across the country, almost one-fifth have been overcome with nerves, to the extent that they were unable to deliver their presentation at all.
These nerves may have a more significant impact on your conversion rate than you may think. A shocking 26 percent of those surveyed revealed that their employers had lost a potential customer due to a low-quality presentation. One-quarter of respondents said that existing customers had abandoned their company because of a substandard presentation. Every move you make is a form of communication, and, while your script may be slick, your nervous habits could distract the audience or paint you as untrustworthy.
More often than not, nerves will stem from a lack of preparation or a previous bad experience. The findings also revealed that a staggering 87 percent of respondents had a bad experience while delivering a presentation. For example, over one-third mentioned that they had experienced technical difficulties, such as problems with the computer.
Planning was also an issue, as almost one-quarter of respondents admitted that they begin preparing less than a week before they are required to present. Three percent even confessed to doing nothing at all until the day they were due to stand up in front of a room of people and deliver their presentation.
According to the findings, the majority of UK office workers (77 percent) are required to create and deliver presentations, for their existing and potential customers, on behalf of their employers. With the high stakes, here are some fool-proof tips to ensure you never deliver a bad presentation again.
Check Your Tech
Technology can be notoriously uncooperative if it is not set up correctly, as one-third of survey respondents attested to. Failing to check through files and other technical equipment could result in unnecessary and embarrassing mishaps, which could distract your message and indicate to your audience that you aren’t in control.
Practice Makes Perfect
Nine percent of people do not practice their presentations in advance, which is full of potential pitfalls. Practice makes perfect, while over-practicing can turn your presentation into a robotic performance. Focus on learning your subject matter inside out, and you’ll be able to convey all your key messages while remaining flexible to follow the conversation wherever it goes. If you can comfortably talk about each slide, you will feel a lot more relaxed and confident.
It is vital to be well prepared for your presentation. Thoroughly research and fact-check your points, and back them up with data and statistics, where possible. You don’t want to be caught out. Even one incorrect or misleading message will suggest to the audience that everything you’ve told them is untrue. Try to anticipate any questions that might be asked at the end and whether you think there might be any curveballs.
Forty-one percent of all survey respondents said they had never received presentation training of any kind. It is vital to develop presentation skills and provide proper training so that each one of your employees is the best representation of your business and its strengths.
You may never be able to completely keep those nerves at bay, but by introducing this new ritual into your process, you can enter every room with the confidence that you will have them hanging on your every word.