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If the thought of an upcoming sales presentation or speech causes you to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, you are not alone. Whether it’s an important sales meeting with your boss, an open discussion with customers or a keynote speech in front of an audience of hundreds, the fear of critical sales presentations and public speaking keeps many a sales presenter awake at night. If you have an upcoming sales pitch or speaking engagement, breathe deeply; effective sales presentation training can help you address and manage your fear.

First let’s examine the kind of fear many salespeople experience before speaking in a professional setting when the stakes are high. We don’t mean the fear that pushes you to think through and prepare for the sales pitch; we are talking about the kind of paralyzing fear that takes you from excited anticipation to dread—the fear that detracts from your ability to concentrate and drains your energy and lets your competitors win.

When this fear rears its ugly head, you have a choice of three responses.

1. You can ignore it.
This is the most common response but it has very negative consequences. It affects your performance as you deliver your sales presentation in a very physical way. You are apt to move stiffly rather than in a casual, confident manner; your breathing may be uneven and show your stress; your voice is likely to betray your unease. All these manifestations reduce your ability to connect with your audience and prevent you from conveying genuine excitement about your message.

2. You can avoid it.
Though you will need a longer term solution, this response can at least help you in the interim. You can take this step in order to create the time and space to devise more effective, more lasting approaches for effective sales presentations.

3. You can overcome it.
To overcome the debilitating fear of failing, follow the strategy of professional athletes. They imagine the desired end result in great detail…exactly how it will look and feel to cross the finish line ahead of the pack or carve the perfect figure eight on the ice. Creative visualization is a powerful and effective way to move away from scary thoughts and consciously move toward your goal of speaking confidently and engaging the audience.

To use the visualization technique successfully, here are some guidelines:

Feel the emotions as you imagine reaching your goal. Music can be the vehicle to help you do this. Who can forget how the high energy Rocky theme came to symbolize the hard work, dedication, perseverance and ultimate triumph of the down-and-out fighter?
Observe your success in your mind from the point of view of an outsider. See the whole event…your confident, smooth, persuasive delivery and the receptive and attentive audience. Then imagine the scene from the point of view of you as presenter. What does it feel like to easily find the words to make your points and address an audience that is transfixed by your message?
Place yourself in the actual setting. Imagine the scene…the stage, the room, the seating arrangement…so that you can picture the event with even greater detail.

Are you ready now to try a visualization exercise? Think of an upcoming public speaking challenge and walk through the following steps:

Picture yourself seated in the room prior to the sales presentation. How will you feel as your time nears?
You’ve been introduced. Imagine approaching the stage. Is your heart pounding? Let this be a sign of excitement rather than fear.
Once on the stage, look directly at the audience. Breathe deeply and imagine a feeling of calm with your buyers.
Take a moment to really see the faces of the group before you. Are they ready for you? Do you need to shift gears a bit before you launch into your prepared sales presentation? Feel the confidence that comes from observing your audience closely and being flexible enough to adapt to their feelings, goals, and needs.

Practice this technique and you will find that, little by little, your fear will decrease and your effectiveness and confidence with sales presentations and as a public speaker will increase.

Learn more about Sales Presentation Training and Leadership Development Programs at LSAGlobal.Com.

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First of all, don’t let your fear of sales presentations or public speaking dominate your thoughts.

If you allow your mind to loop back again and again to a fearful situation, you give your fear more power than it deserves. One way to counteract this uncontrolled persistence of a behavior is to accept and confront it. By acknowledging the process of repetitive thoughts, you de-mystify it and reduce its power over you.

Once you’re back in charge, you can work on being authentic with your audience and your clients. Good sales presentation training will help you to reveal your true self. As you appear more natural and vulnerable, your audience will be more receptive and forgiving. Rather than working toward impressing others in a false way, invite spontaneity into your presentation and incorporate the ease and wit you share with your closest of friends. This is the way to discover and reveal your own individual style and become more genuine and interesting to the audience.

We define individual presentation style as the attitudes, words, thoughts and gestures that flow from your personality. When you can share your personality with your audience, your natural expressions enliven your sales presentation and your ability to influence others – especially when the stakes are high.

To develop your individual sales presentation style, you must first be aware of how you come across on stage and to your current and potential clients. Awareness can be achieved by soliciting feedback from clients, coaches and peers. Self-evaluation just after presenting or by watching your videotaped presentation is another tool. A third way to uncover your personality and conquer your fear is to practice targeted exercises. Perhaps you want to practice a gesture to emphasize a point in your story or a dramatic pause to allow the audience to absorb a new thought.

A good way to “test” your style is to visualize yourself presenting. Imagine exactly what your presentation will look like. See the faces in the audience and read their reactions. Are they moved by what you have said and done? Experience the warm feeling of success and use any residual fear to prompt another visualization exercise.

Learn more about Sales Training and Sales Negotiation Training at LSAGlobal.Com.

When you give a speech or presentation, do you include stories or anecdotes in your material? If not, you should. Anecdotes and stories are not only interesting for your audience but they also lend credibility to you as a speaker; and, one of your goals as a speaker is to establish this reliability. Your audience needs to be able to trust in your worthiness to speak on a particular topic.

When you consider how many speakers talk about the same or similar subject matter, the act of establishing credibility, which labels you as an expert or an authority in your field, is enhanced by the stories or anecdotes you share with your listeners.

Are stories and anecdotes the same thing? No. Anecdotes are always true; stories may or may not be true.

I recently read an article in which the writer was talking about the Do’s of storytelling. What is interesting is that he assumed that all stories told in public speaking are humorous. Unless you are a comedian, all your stories need not be humorous. Much of it will depend on your topic.

When I talk about the voice and/or presentation skills, I add stories and anecdotes about my clients or myself which may be serious, which may be amazing, or which may be funny. It depends on the story. What it does for me as an authority in my field, however, is establish me as an expert.

If you are new in your career, you may not have many experiences that you can share. If such is the case, you are welcome to use other people’s material which is relevant to your subject as long as you give credit to the writer of such material. This is where researching your topic is so important.

You can find a wealth of information on the internet pertinent to your topic whether it is through articles, blogs or forums. Check out YouTube for speeches and presentations dealing with your subject matter. Start networking by means of your Social Media connections as well as in personal contact through organizations such as leads clubs, rotary organizations and chambers of commerce. The more experience you gain, the greater your credibility.

Study professional speakers like Zig Ziglar and Anthony Robbins and watch how they use their personal experiences. Stories and anecdotes add great interest to a speech or a presentation. Not to use them is a mistake because it will leave your audience both unimpressed and uninspired.

The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. For more information on upcoming workshops, visit Nancy’s Voice Training Workshops.

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