Updated: Feb 22
The open-enrollment presentation skills class in Zurich, Switzerland, in October 2019 brought together 5 professionals from 5 different countries –the UK, Switzerland, Germany, Bosnia, and Tanzania.
Though their occupations (scientist, mathematician, finance director, social media expert, and b2b salesperson) couldn’t have been more different, they all shared a common goal: to improve their speaking skills. Over 2 days, everyone learned how to overcome their public speaking anxiety and start enjoying giving presentations.
What participants learned was that public speaking is a skill, just like any other. If you do it without any training, you won't be as successful as you want. But if you invest in developing those skills, you can become an amazing speaker with your own authentic style, who audiences will look forward to listening to.
In every class we cover the Impact Presenting 4 step model, and in this post we’ll summarize the Impact Presenting 1st step, “Anxiety and your Audience” which recommends the following to calm those nerves before a big talk:
Be prepared. Public speaking anxiety can come from being poorly prepared, and many other avoidable reasons. Ensure your presentation is well prepared and check out the venue beforehand. This minimizes the risk of anything out of the ordinary happening and, in turn, reduces your anxiety.
Separate your anxiety from “anticipation”. The anxiety you feel when thinking about speaking to an audience is also a feeling of anticipation. It’s the enthusiasm and energy that comes with any exciting opportunity. If you learn to see that the “fear” will always be there before a talk, you can start to look forward to your talks more!
Don’t worry, the audience won’t notice. Were you worried that the audience can somehow see how nervous you are on stage? They can’t. Most signs of public speaking anxiety – butterflies in the stomach, tightness in the chest, heart pounding – are not visible.
Change your focus from you to your audience. Remember, you have the knowledge or vision that your audience doesn’t. You’re there to help them see it too. Thinking about your own performance will probably just make yourself more nervous, so instead, focus on the needs of your audience and bringing them value.
On the 2nd day, participants took turns giving their presentations to the group, getting positive and constructive feedback, and left feeling more empowered and motivated to get in front of an audience and start presenting!
Some comments by attendees:
"Eric is a wonderful coach! I recently attended one of his 2 days presentation training course and can recommend it to anyone. Whether you have fear of public speaking, or are an experienced speaker searching to perfect your presentation, Eric's class is the right choice. Through practical exercises and with simple tips, you will see yourself improve by the hour."
Yannick Pittet, Digital Marketing Manager, Davidoff (photo, 2nd from right)
"Really practical, hands-on training with insightful feedback and effective processes"
John Pennicott, Finance Director, Pharmacyclics Switzerland GmbH (photo, left)
We plan, post-pandemic, to be in Zurich 2x a year. See our main page for our course schedule (including pop-up classes) and join us next time!