You are growing nervous by the minute. Your mouth is dry. You stumble on your words.

Talk about hot seat. It’s so hot your face is red from the heat.

The more you speak the more your boss looks disinterested.

Then to make matters worse, he tells you to book a meeting to present your PowerPoint material to the committee.

Your mind is racing. You’re not worried about your PowerPoint presentation. You know how to design an effective PowerPoint presentation and you know your material.

But you are worried about your ability to speak and capture your audience’s attention. You are anxious that you won’t present yourself in the best light.

According to one survey, over 74% of people suffer from some sort of glossophobia, the fear of speaking in public. Indeed they’d rather face death than speak in public. Or to paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld “most people at a funeral, would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy”.

If you are like the majority of people, how then can you conquer your fear of giving a PowerPoint presentation? What can you do to be more effective?

There are many tips out there to become an effective public speaker. Having sat in on many presentations over my career, here is my top tip on how to conquer your fear of giving a PowerPoint presentation.

MAKE IT EASY FOR YOUR AUDIENCE TO LIKE YOU

You never have a second chance to make a good first impression. And the window of opportunity to win your audience on your side is short. You need to capture their attention within the first 5 minutes.

As soon as you open your mouth your audience is judging you. They are judging your ability to keep them engaged.

And even though they may have different agendas, the majority of people in your audience want to like you. They want you to be interesting as well as be informative. They’re rooting for you. They want to be able to relate to you on a personal level. And once you are able to create that relationship you have overcome the biggest challenge.

MAKE THEM FEEL COMFORTABLE

One of the easiest ways to get your audience to like you is to make them feel comfortable.

How do you make them feel comfortable?

TELL A STORY

Just as in our personal relationships, when we tell a story about our lives we create a conversation. If we simply present facts, the relationship is one sided. You tell, they listen. Not a good way to win people over to your side.

STORIES ARE ABOUT PEOPLE

The story needs a face.

Open your presentation with a situational anecdote supporting your content and how it relates to them. It could be a scenario that relates to your PowerPoint presentation material and their jobs, a situation that directly relates to your audience but told in a personal, narrative fashion. For example, “on my drive into work today I was listening to the news and that made me think about our situation and how….” or “I was tying my shoes the other day and ….. Seem silly?

Perhaps, but wouldn’t that peak your interest? Wouldn’t you want to pay attention and find out what happens next?

Speak directly about your material while you draw in the audience.

For a more informal approach, try a lighthearted view of a personal story on how you developed the material for your PowerPoint presentation or tell a joke.

It is this story that makes you human.

This is material that comes directly from your personal experiences. It doesn’t need to be rehearsed. You will be relaxed and comfortable since you know the story like the back of your hand. You are simply talking to a group of friends about a subject that interests them and you have information you want to provide.

When your audience feels you are relaxed they will relax and are receptive and open to hearing what more you have to say.

The key to conquering your fear of making a PowerPoint presentation. Be yourself.

Do you have any more tips on how to overcome the fear of making a PowerPoint Presentation? What works for you? What hasn’t worked for you? What’s your biggest fear in making a PowerPoint presentation?