Busy doing lots of networking lately – I’ve found it necessary to get good at this quite quickly. Otherwise you find yourself feeling very guilty of wasting a lot of time for zero return. I make it my business now to get at least one hot lead from every event I attend. I often do better if I’ve got my initial research right about who’s going to be there…
It’s simple basics, really. No rocket science dissertation here, I’m afraid…
I make sure I am really well prepared – my 60 second “elevator speech” ( for those in the know) – my “business introduction” to those who aren’t 😉 is now a fine-tuned thing of beauty… oh alright, a thing of great speed, then.
Come on – 60 secs to introduce your business and make any real sense? I don’t think so… but I rattle out a few choice and impactful (I like to think) statements, try to scare the audience into thinking they are missing something unless we talk afterwards, and do it all trying not to exhibit the nerves I am inevitably feeling, speaking to a room of anything from 20 to 70 people who I have never met before.
Doesn’t matter how many times I do it – each time the mouth dries up, it’s hard to stop fidgeting and I am concentrating on the deep breathing to calm the manic butterflies, only to the detriment of remembering what I need to say.
There’s a lovely blog from Randy McLean offering some ideas on how to make the whole experience more pleasant. The tips I like best are here in these excerpts:
1. People don’t bite
“People cannot read your mind. A lot of the time when you want something you need to ask. You will find that most of the time they are friendlier than you expected. Often the more we dwell on a situation the scarier it becomes.”
So, lesson number 1 – ask your audience for the chance to explain what you can do to help them in detail, either after your presentation, or at a mutually convenient time soon – get an appointment!
2. What is the worst that can happen?
“Most of the time the longer you wait the worse a perceived circumstance will become in your mind. You will find that most things you worry about never happen. We can often let our imagination run wild.
And if the situation doesn’t go as planned so what? As long as you are kind it is not your problem. It is their problem. If you say hello and smile most people will do the same thing back. You reap what you sow.”
Lesson number 2 -It won’t be as bad as you imagine. SMILE a lot at your networking events, ask questions, listen to their answers. They’ll love you for it. No-one is going to die!
3. Break the ice
“There is a difference between being shy and quiet. It is hard for others to tell that when you first meet them. Going out of your way to talk to someone you first meet will create a much better first impression.
Often at times other people are waiting for you to talk to them. Why? Because they are shy too! It can often help to break the ice and you will find that overall your interactions with people will be more pleasant.”
Refer back to Lesson number 2!
4. Practice makes perfect
“The more you try and overcome shyness the more confidence you will have. The more confidence you have the easier it will become to continue behaving in a like manner.”
Lesson number 4 – buy this book “Feel the Fear… and do it anyway”. It’s brilliant!
You can read the whole article here
How do you overcome your fears when it comes to public speaking or business presentations? Leave us your tips!