VIRTUAL PRESENTATION FEAR: IT CAN BE OVERCOME
It was only a matter of time. We could see it coming. We knew it would arrive.
And even when you can see it coming, the fear of doing something new can feel overwhelming.
That’s the way it was for me, and that’s the way it was for thousands of other people in my field.
When the Covid Pandemic destroyed the in-person training marketplace, the immediate plan B was virtual presentations. Trainers had mixed emotions about this. The first was relief. At least there was some way to continue training. The second was stress. How do we learn and apply this new way of training? Presentation fear was created by the need to do things differently.
This article is the first in a series that will share lessons learned since that time. We will begin by discussing helpful mindsets. Then we will focus on skills and tips.
When under the stress of doing something new, it is helpful to look for something familiar. These mindsets will provide a foundation that should provide comfort. They are not new. They are powerful reminders that provide a strong foundation—and an effective launching pad for all similar endeavors.
VIRTUAL PRESENTATION FEAR BUSTER 1: IT’S ALL ABOUT CONNECTION
Live in-person presentations, live online presentations, and even recorded messages should have the same primary goal: connection.
In-person live training is my favorite. Much of that preference is due to my experience and my personality. But it is not all about me! It is about working with the options available to pursue the best possible outcome. Like so many others, I need to adapt to the current reality.
Perhaps it is the same for you. If your preferred option is not available, be willing to try other things. And realize that the goal will stay the same.
There are challenges associated with all forms of communication that are outside of the live in-person setting. You face limitations. There are also some advantages associated with alternate forms of presenting. Through all the challenges and benefits, the primary goal remains the same.
The Big Presentations Mantra applies:
Know your Audience.
Know your Message.
Make the Connection.
With this mindset, you can apply a powerful combination of determination and curiosity. You are going to connect with your audience. You are curious about the options available, and you are determined to use them to create the strongest connection possible—connecting your audience to your message. It’s all about connection.
During times of change, even when it seems everything is different, you can hold to this truth. It is all about connection. When you face presentation fear, remember: the tools might change. The goal does not.
VIRTUAL PRESENTATION FEAR BUSTER 2: I CAN PREPARE
The second mindset should be stable across all delivery platforms. With the goal of connection, you are dedicated to preparation.
You are determined to cover the basics of the mantra.
You will know your audience. As much as possible, you will obtain information that can guide your development and your delivery of the message.
You will know your message. You will identify the goal, respect its limitations and filter the content appropriately. You will compile what you could say, filter it down to what you should say (for this specific audience), and then honor the clock by filtering according to the time limitations. You will craft the verbal content and explore any visual content that might support it.
And you will make the connection. You will bring a positive, helpful, and appropriate energy to the situation. You will do what you can before, during, and after the presentation to build relationships and strengthen connections. And you will be observant and responsive to the feedback that comes your way. You are not plowing through a PowerPoint. You are making a connection—a connection that you prepared for.
Did you notice all the “wills” in this section? You will do these things because it is your will to make a connection. Preparation is part of the investment required to bring that will to reality. Overcome your presentation fear with a strong will.
VIRTUAL PRESENTATION FEAR BUSTER 3: I CAN IMPROVE
On July 2nd of 2022, I was thrilled to attend a historic event at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN. Chagall Guevara was performing live for the first time in 20 years. Their self-titled album was finally being followed up by a sophomore release. Fans like me came from all over to hear songs that we knew by heart and a new set of songs that are destined to become favorites as well.
The show was great, but it was not perfect.
At one point, Steve Taylor, the lead singer, paused. He grinned apologetically and said, “This stuff is so new, we haven’t developed muscle memory yet.”
The performers in the audience knew what he was talking about.
Bands performing their classics have it easy. The ability to hit the notes, hit the rhythms, and remember the lyrics, is like tying a shoe. They don’t have to think about it.
But performing a new song is different. The repetition doesn’t exist… yet. It will, but it requires both short-term and long-term practice.
This is why the second and third mindsets are more difficult to apply.
The first mindset is a determination to connect. The second mindset is a dedication to preparation. The third is a drive to improve.
When using a new platform, it is a little like learning a new song. You understand the basics. You know the mantra. But this application of that knowledge is different
Preparation is more difficult because it involves new skill sets that have yet to become muscle memory.
The repetition doesn’t exist… yet. It will, but it requires both short-term and long-term practice. Overcome your presentation fear with a realization that you will do the best you can with what you have. And you will improve with each opportunity.
The future will be better than the present because muscle memory will develop.
VIRTUAL PRESENTATION FEAR BUSTER: CONFIDENCE
You got this! In the big picture, you are in familiar territory. It is all about making connections. Preparation is required. And your skills will improve with time.
You can honor these mindsets on any platform. Live in-person, live online, or even recorded messages can honor the mantra: Know your audience. Know your message. Make the connection.
So be willing to adapt. Use the tools at your disposal to make connections—connecting the audience to the message.
Embrace the mindsets of connection, preparation, and improvement and you will overcome presentation fear and be on your way to making Big Presentation in Small Rooms.
Want to know more? Start at the beginning and follow the blog at Blog – Big Presentations
Would you rather listen? The same concepts are addressed in the podcast at Big Presentations on Apple Podcasts