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Sales Presentations: Tips on Dealing With Anxiety
Sales Presentations: Tips on Dealing With Anxiety

By Jonathan Farrington
April 15, 2008 1:05PM

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Seekers understand that anxiety can be a stimulant that fuels enthusiasm during a presentation. So, how do we get those butterflies flying in formation? The first thing to remember is that anxiety and nerves mean you are alive -- and without them, your resulting presentation would be like you: dead!
 



All professional salespeople have to be involved in a presentation at some time in their sales career, but when it comes to the enthusiasm that sales professionals have for making a presentation, they broadly fall into four categories:

The Avoider: An Avoider does everything possible to escape from having to stand in front of an audience.

The Register: A Register is also extremely hesitant of speaking in public. They may not be able to avoid speaking as part of their job, but they never encourage it.

The Acceptor: The Acceptor will give presentations as part of the job, but does not seek opportunities to do so.

The Seeker: A Seeker actively looks for opportunities to speak. They understand that anxiety can be a stimulant that fuels enthusiasm during a presentation.

Becoming a Seeker is a prerequisite for sales success! So, how do we get those butterflies flying in formation?

The first thing to remember is that anxiety and nerves mean you are alive -- and without them, your resulting presentation would be like you: dead!

What you need to do is learn to control your anxiety and use it to fuel your enthusiasm.

Identifying Fears

To control your anxiety, you must identify what it is that you are afraid of. Is it forgetting your lines? Is it the audience size? Once you have established what exactly you are afraid of, then establish whether or not you can control it.

Imagine you are the captain of an airliner. Do you fear flying? Of course not(although you may fear crashing), because you are in complete control of not only the aircraft, but also the crew and the passengers.

You have a flight plan, and before you take off, you know the payload, weather conditions for the flight, arrival time, departure time, etc. However, what is most significant is that you are familiar with flying, and you are comfortable with all of that responsibility, because you have flown so many times before and you know virtually everything there is to know about that aircraft.

Therein lies the secret: The more presentations we deliver, the more accomplished we become. However, we must know what we are talking about -- we must know our subject matter inside out. Otherwise our audience will find us out.

Let's consider the areas that you can control:

Your audience: After all, you invited them.

Your material: You designed it.

Your resources: You chose to utilize them.

Yourself: You're no puppet.

If there are any areas you've identified that you can't control, forget them -- it'll probably never happen. (continued...)

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