The Nose Punch
You know the drill. You go to present something and you start off saying, “Thank you very much. Ben, I really appreciate this opportunity to address this group today. Charlie, I want to say a personal thank you for helping me get the tech squared away. This is a lovely facility here isn’t it? Be sure to tip your servers.”
Guess what? NOBODY GIVES A SHIT!
When you start any presentation, you need to punch the audience in the nose. Come out with something that grabs their attention. It can be a hard nose punch or a soft one. It can be loud, it can be quiet, but it needs to let them know they need to listen to you.
In the movie industry, it’s said you have 10 minutes to capture your audience, that’s ten pages of script. In presentations and speaking, you have 10 seconds. Don’t waste it with thank you’s. Do that later.
I have a friend who died and the medical staff managed to bring her back to life. I told her, for the rest of her life if anyone asks “how are you” she should respond with “Well, I was dead once, but I got better.” Imagine if she was to speak and that was her open.
What can you do with your topic to insure they are listening from word one? That’s a nose punch.
How To Ease Your Nerves
Do NOT picture me in my underwear. You will regret it. That’s the worst advice anyone could ever give someone to calm them down when presenting , be it for one or one thousand. Can you imagine? You look out and see someone you would never want to see like that and, suddenly, you see them like that! Or, equally distracting, you see someone you would like to see like that and you do.
I spent years training TV reporters and I taught them all the same thing when going live. This advice will help you in the social media world too. I told them to talk to me. I was there, right behind the camera. Just act like they are having a conversation with me and ignore the fact that thousands were watching.
The equivalent for you is to find the face of a friend in the crowd, if one is there. If not, find a friendly face. If you can’t see the audience, since people on virtual meetings often turn off their camera, then imagine a friend you are talking to. If you do this, it will calm you and make you not stammer as much and give you more confidence.