Pressure Presentations – When Oprah Calls

When have you felt the pressure of giving a presentation? Was it a “make it or break it” situation? How well you do on this presentation will determine your career, income, and future. I’ve been working with a client that had to face one such presentation.

Carmen Kraft, the creator of the DoctorMe Book, had entered a contest to have her product sold on QVC and presented on Oprah! She had to give a 10 minute presentation on why her product is a right fit for QVC and why America needs it. Talk about pressure!

Carmen came to me understandably nervous. This is a big presentation, a one shot deal. Her anxiety and nervousness were apparent and I knew the first thing I had to do was calm her down.

The first time I went through the presentation with Shari, I was nervous and upset. I didn’t know why this seemed so hard. After a few preliminary questions and outlines, it was time for her homework. I told Carmen that she needed to take time every day to visualize the presentation. “It has to be a dynamic visualization,” I told her. Walk into the room. How big is it? How many people are there? How are they dressed? How is the room set up? Is it a panel of judges or just one person? Notice, how do you feel? What are you wearing? What do you have in your hands? What do you hear? Etc.

I told her this is critical. Giving yourself a chance to be in the situation many times before you even get there will keep you calm and cool. By the time you walk into the presentation, you will feel in control and confident.

For Carmen, each visualization was different. You see, Carmen and I weren’t sure what the “audition” would be like. So, she visualized small intimate settings and she visualized a ballroom full of people. She visualized a panel full of bored judges and she visualized a single person across a table. This way no matter what they threw at her, she was prepared.

Each time I visualized a different scenario, I had a new question for Shari. What if it’s like this, then what should I do? What if I run into this, what should I do? But with each question I had, Shari gave me an answer. Because of working with Shari, I went into the presentation fully confident that I was prepared and had a killer presentation. What could have been a high anxiety situation was fun and exciting! It went great!

So next time you’re faced with a pressure presentation, walk yourself through the presentation. Go through many different scenarios, especially your worst case scenario. Then visualize how you’ll combat any obstacles. This way your mind is fully prepared for whatever comes your way.

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