Oh yes, there are actually more people in the world who are afraid of speaking in front of others than in dying. Wow! Surveys show 54% of adults are in this category. What are we afraid of? Messing up? Being rejected? Feeling foolish? Unsure if our audience will think we don’t know what we are talking about? Have your normally dry palms become so sweaty you couldn’t even hold onto a football? When you speak, does that upper lip suddenly get stuck to your front teeth? Do you feel like you just swallowed a large walnut? Let's start exploring the mental and physical aspects of speaking in front of others.

Establishing credibility in your presentation to one or 1,000 includes more than sharing technical knowledge. It is imperative to build trust, conduct enthusiastic and engaging rapport with your audience, know your competition’s business (if applicable), why they are there and what they expect. You always want to present a confident, professional image that says you are serious about motivating, educating or informing the listeners of valuable information to build/improve/equip them for greater success physically, mentally, financially or in whatever goal has been established.

The most critical component is body language, where the real truth lies! If you look carefully, you can “see” what they’re saying by the signals their bodies transmit. When delivering a presentation or engaging in conversation, it is crucial to pick up on nonverbal signals for the most successful communication. Why? Because 55% of our message is non-verbal (how we look, act, sit stand, enter a room, our posture, movements & gestures, handshake, what do with our hands, how high we hold our head); 38% is voice quality (expressions, pitch and tone), while only 7% are the actual words spoken. As you watch your audience, you will see if anything needs to be adjusted by how attentive they are, what expressions are on their faces and if their eyes are on you or the door. Whether meeting others for the first time or the tenth, it is critical to project a confident, friendly demeanor that says, “I want to build–or continue to build-a mutually rewarding relationship with you.” What you say is almost always outweighed by what you “do” during your presentation. Gestures and facial expressions tell others how you feel about your products and services, as well as how you feel about the audience, not to mention how you feel about yourself and your ability to make a difference.

Tips for More Confident Presentations:
First and foremost, your goal is not to close a sale during your presentation but to open a relationship that lasts for years. This viewpoint is effective and helps take the pressure off making a quick sale and nothing more.

Prospects can tell if you are just selling them your products, services and ideas, but they can also tell if you are excited about making their lives easier or more profitable. At the end of a presentation would you like to hear, “This special is just for today so why don’t we write up your order so you can take advantage of it.” Or, while you are in front of your prospects, you say, “This new process should shave at least an hour off of your information-gathering process each day.” Now that can give a presenter confidence! Who wouldn’t want the extra time for other job duties!

Demonstrations, audience participation, and true stories give credibility, can be fun and informative, and help your audience relate to why they should also build a relationship with you. People love relevant stories they can connect with.

Look the part of the successful business person. It only takes seven seconds to make a good impression, one that can prompt the listener to “want to hear more” or move on to their smartphone emails.

Apply a lubricant like Vaseline (just a dab) on your top teeth so your lips won’t get stuck in that rather amusing position. You can also roll on a thin layer of antiperspirant in your palms to help control the dreaded sweaty palm.

With mouth closed, swallow hard while slightly extending your chin outward. This can be done in a way that is not noticeable and helps clear your throat for a stronger opening statement.

Be warm, engaging, serious when necessary, maintain good eye contact, and exhibit the utmost in sincerity.
If you are you among the 54% of adults who are more afraid of public speaking than death, you are missing one of the most powerful ways to market yourself, get your message out, create new income opportunities and make new friends and associates! You CAN learn the techniques to move forward!

Author's Bio: 

Rita Rocker-Craft is an international published author, life-transforming inspirational and educational speaker, communications and image specialist, and career consultant with SoaringHigher.rocks. She is a former Mrs. Nebraska and Mrs. America contestant. Rita inspires individuals to rise and go forward by providing powerful techniques for victorious personal and professional life makeovers. She is very authentic inspiring others with hope, humor and heart!