Managing Presentation Nerves

Managing Presentation Nerves – Joseph Hull

I have recognized that many participants in our business presen- tation seminars feel that a lack of confidence or nervousness is the main reason they need to develop their presentation skills. They also recognize that to be successful in international business they need to be good at presenting their ideas, products and services in English. Which means having the confi- dence to stand up in front of an international audience and clearly and confidently present their ideas. The good news is that by the end of the seminar the participants can do just that, they have successfully developed their presentations to a level suitable for international business. They have learned skills and techniques skills to prepare and confidently deliver successful business presentations as well as tech- niques to manage their nerves and interact with their audience. Notice I didn’t say to get rid of their nervousness. This is because presenting is not a natural activity; even the most experienced presenters get nervous. The key is to decrease your level of nervousness so you can use your energy positively and not let your nervousness control you. To help bring your nervousness under control, here are some key tips to remember.

Consider Your Audience

Always start your preparation by considering your audience. The more you know about your audience the less nervous you will be. Think about your audience’s expectations:

What do they want to learn?

What is their level of knowledge?

How will they use your information?

What need are you serving for?

What problems do they have?

The more confident you are presenting them with useful and interesting material that satisfies their needs and expectations; the less nervous you will be overall. Remember that you are there for them and that they want you to succeed.

Develop Content

Even the best content can be ineffective if your presentation style contradicts or detracts from your message. Basically decide whether your purpose is to inform or persuade. Then, logically structure your presentation content using a simple structure that builds on the audience’s level of knowledge for informative style presentations. For persuasive style presentations start with the audience’s problem or need and then present your solution and show how your solution solves the problem or satisfies their needs. This will make your presentation easier to follow, understand and remember for your audience. Remember to use visual aids to help the audience understand and remember your presentation. However, keep your visuals simple, do not use them to help you present, they should be designed to help the audience understand and remember your key information.

Practice Out Loud

As the saying goes “Practice makes perfect”. Rehearsal is of course very important. You must practice or rehearse to check the content and build your confidence. After developing your content talk through your presentation a few times and the following points:

How does it flow? – Logically? Are the key messages clear? How long does it take? – Time is OK?

If necessary adjust the content, if you need to reduce the time delete some content, but move any slides after your conclusion slide, they may be helpful to answer questions.

So now you are basically happy with the content. Time to rehearse,

the point to remember is – always rehearse out loud. The purpose is to practice how you are going to powerfully deliver the presentation and engage your audience. If you can persuade a few of your colleagues to be your audience and give you some feedback that would be great. If not try using a web cam to record your presen- tation and then review from the viewpoint of your audience. A few more tips:

• Practice emphasizing key words.

• Practice meaningful gestures

• Practice varying the tone and pace of your voice. Slow down for important words and key messages.

• Practice eye contact by looking at the chairs – not the visuals or notes

• Check your transitions between each point.

• Rehearse out loud at least three times, or until you feel confident.

For those who avoid rehearsal:

If you put off or avoid rehearsing, the more you are feeding your anxiety and you will become more anxious and more nervous. You have to rehearse to break away from this mental pattern. Otherwise the nervous reaction will just con- tinue to grow.

If you think about why or when you get nervous, it is often about losing control over something: your voice waivers, you forget a key point, your hands shake, you turn red in the face, you blank out, etc. Rehearsing helps you gain physical control to improve your delivery.

On the Day

Lastly, on the day, try to get to your presentation venue in plenty of time, at least thirty minutes before the scheduled starting time. Check all the equipment, the room layout, get a glass of water, get comfortable in the room and greet the guests as they arrive. This will help you to relax and hopefully, enjoy your presentation.

Recruiting Global Talent – Next Challenge

horiguchi daijob.comRecruiting Global Talent – Next Challenge
“Development for global talent utilization”

According to a survey conducted by Management Research Institute, Sanno Management Institute in 2012, 77.7% of companies think they do not have “global leader” and 80.8% think they do not have “global manager.” Globalization became an important challenge for all the Japanese companies regardless their size or nature of business after Lehman Shock in 2008. As a result, recruiting and development of global talent who can conduct successful business globally is now a critical challenge in executing companies’ global strategy.

More companies are making foreign language skills as one of selection criteria these days. If average TOEIC score of employees goes up by 100 at one company, does it mean that company is global? Quite many business people would answer “No”, which indicates definition of globalization has been unified and more companies recognize globalization as a critical success factor compared to a few years ago.

Having said that, I often feel utilization of global talent at medium and small-size Japanese companies are still not enough even now when they recognize importance of global recruiting. This view is based on my own experience of managing bilingual job search website.

Let’s define what global talent is and list up requirements.

1. Talent who can communicate in foreign languages
2. Talent who are broad-minded, self-initiated, proactive, cooperative, flexible and responsible
3. Talent who can understand and respect different cultures without losing their own identities

Needless to say, having the above three requirements does not mean one can conduct business successfully as global talent.

All the companies in the world are trying to roll out country-specific strategies to capture market share given global competition. The true globalization means talent can understand borderless market strategy and execute it by leveraging strengths of their and their companies.

Recruiting talent with the above-mentioned three requirements is never enough. What is imperative is to create a company’s own global strategy, which provides a work environment where talent with the requirements can conduct business successfully as global talent.
Unless a company can utilize global talent, recruiting talent with the three requirements does not make the company truly global.

Suppose there is a company which has been expanding its business only in Japan. Now it is planning to conduct business in China as it cannot expect huge increase in domestic demand.

What type of talent is sought after in this case?

Most of the Japanese companies would hire Japanese with fluent Chinese first followed by bilingual Chinese and let them join existing projects. Foreign-national companies would hire talent who already have experience of market penetration in China and assign the person to leader of a new strategic project.

The main difference of selection method comes from how companies think global strategy, in another
word, how they think work environment where global talent can be successful.

In short, Japanese companies assign Japanese with a combination of foreign language skills and
domestic business experience to team leader of global strategic project while foreign-capital companies
execute global strategy by utilizing talent who is familiar with a targeted overseas market.

I am not saying Japanese companies are wrong and foreign-national companies are correct.
All the companies need to have a sense of crisis that utilization of the best global talent is the critical
competitive edge for survival and this urgency is required more from Japanese companies.

It is true most of the Japanese companies are recruiting new college graduates globally and more Japanese companies are recruiting Japanese with overseas education as well as foreign students who studied in Japan. However, only few Japanese companies are successfully utilizing global talent. They are still developing potential global talent to make them fit in Japanese corporate culture rather than to make them grow to be a true global talent. The current issue is it is far easier to understand and accept foreign national employees with Japanese mind-setting or employees dedicated to interpretation/translation jobs.

Though quite many Japanese companies are conducting business internationally, only few have foreigners with global strategic experience in business leader positions. That few companies do not have career paths for Japanese with overseas education as well as locally hired foreign nationals. Employment system does not even exist for the latter.

Recruiting and utilizing global talent is a prerequisite of global companies.
Japanese companies used to underestimate Japanese with overseas education as they do not know social manners and foreign national employees as they avoid overtime work and stick to job description. That bias is changing to the awareness that they are persistent to attain a goal, think positively and communicate ideas clearly. Different nationalities and cultural background create diversity of culture and thinking style. Both Japanese and foreign-capital companies have their own culture in the same way each person has a different cultural view based on his/her background. It is all about differences, not about what the correct one is.

Japanese companies need to modify their talent management strategy of recruiting only new college graduates and developing them to fit their corporate culture. Foreign-capital companies need to change mid-career recruiting, which just focuses on their immediate business contribution.

Needless to say, globalization of companies does not mean obtaining high TOEIC score or introducing standardization.

Companies can maintain their good identities and corporate culture by providing internal training and still can absorb good cultural aspects of other countries. After dropping current rigid recruiting criteria and selection method based on who fits existing corporate culture, companies are required to create criteria and system for recruiting, development and employment with the aim of understanding diversity and maximizing each talent’s strength.

Respecting and accepting diverse values is possible though it is not easy.
I hope all the companies create their global identities, understand and respect them and start recruiting global talent and developing them for full utilization.

Reference
Final Report “Survey of development and utilization of global talent”
“Survey of development and utilization of global talent” project by Management Research Institute, Sanno Institute of Management, April, 2012

◇Profile
Toshihide Horiguchi
Executive Officer in charge of Global Recruiting Website Business at Human International Co., Ltd.
He continues to provide consulting advice to companies on planning recruiting strategy and talent development as a recruiting expert with more than 12-year experience. Currently, he is responsible for job search website “Daijob.com”, which specializes in recruiting of bilingual talents. His clients cover both Japanese and foreign-capital companies.

Daijob.com – The biggest job search website for global and bilingual talent
Daijob.com has been the biggest job information website for bilingual talent since 1998 when it was the only information provider for bilingual talent. The site constantly carries more than 10,000 vacancy information of foreign capital companies or worldly-known Japanese companies. It is the most sought after recruiting tool for bilingual talent with more than 390,000 bilingual talent registered and more than three million monthly page views.

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