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Posted by Lauren Barham on June 02, 2017

When I started out in business, I absolutely loathed selling in person.  I was horribly self-conscious, socially awkward and agonized badly on the odd time I scraped up the money to go out to sell.  I suffered stage fright beforehand, and black misery of  “if only’s” afterwards.   Over several decades, I finally learned a bit more about my craft and here are some top tips to help anyone suffering from selling or presenting nerves.

  1. Know your stuff.   I mean whatever you are selling – women are not as happy bluffing their way through and just knowing you know what you are talking about is an essential step to confidence.
  2. Remind yourself why you are doing this – your main motivation for running your business. Hold your dream in your head to help you fly.
  3. Get yourself psyched up beforehand.  Even if you are not normally addicted to affirmations, use them for this.  In the car, on the way, say loudly and as confidently as you can “I am good at this”, “I am successful” at least ten times each with total conviction.
  4. Remember your physiology and what a huge difference moving even bits of your body can make to your mental state.  I challenge you to smile for 10 minutes solid on the way there and not feel better!  When you are nervous, you tense up, when you tense up, all your emotions dull down.   Take some music with you (Kelly Clarkson “stronger”;  Rocky – Eye of a Tiger .. really get you going stuff) and some comfy shows and find somewhere to have a quick boogie – the ladies loo will do!
  5. Stop worrying if you might have enough charisma.  Great leaders, even celebrities all learn to develop it.  Nor do they have to be beautiful. Us women are especially prone to being body conscious.  But famous people develop a memorable image if they are one of the beautiful (Marilyn Monroe; hair and lips) or less so (Chaplin : cane, walk and hat or Hitler; moustache).  Celebrate your own weirdness and have confidence in being distinctively you.   That is what attracts attention.
  6. Clothes are still important but most of all because when you are presenting, you are making a new relationship with the other people. And when you make new relationships, it is the same as the first day at a new school, you will want to fit in.
  7. Remember to make eye contact with people.  It helps too when you are presenting to a group as you feel more as if you are engaging on a one to one basis and that will make you look instantly credible.
  8. If you are using their technology, get there early and check it out.  If you are using your own, bring a back-up.  I have been caught out with that one, when I turned up on a really important presentation without a laptop and their conference room computer had blown up just before I went in.  I had to improvise and that is not good for the nerves!
  9. Learn to mirror people when you are selling and presenting - because people like people whom they perceive to be like themselves. So try mirroring speech patterns, slowing or speeding to their rhythm, their tone of voice as well and make sure you repeat key words they use.  Sync your breathing to theirs, echo some facial expressions, and some of their gestures.  Not in a way you are doing a poor imitation, but just so that you are keying into their airways.  If you watch two people inter-acting over a period of time, you will see their body language becoming more and more similar as they talk to each other naturally.
  10. And finally, stop trying to be superwoman.  Rather than hate yourself for being nervous, say some kind things to yourself instead.  Tell yourself it is normal to be nervous and think of all the famous actors who suffered so appallingly from stage fright.  Adele had to resort to hypnotherapy because she would make herself so sick with nerves;  Helen Mirren, Rihanna, Emma Watson, Jennifer Lawrence.  The list is endless so it really is ok.  But they deal with it and so can you.

Author: Business woman and female entrepreneur, Jan Cavelle. Jan has started many businesses from scratch and has a proven track record for building to a multi-million mark. She writes prolifically for businesses and business publications, most regularly for real.business.co.uk, the leading digital magazine for SME's. In addition to writing, she coaches SME owners and helps support them in a variety of ways but specializing in sales, for which she herself won the coveted National Sales Decade of Excellence Award - http://www.jancavelle.co.uk

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