Stress-Busting Presentation Tips

By Heather Baldwin

If you’re in the sales business today, chances are you’re overworked, overscheduled and overstressed. Add to that the stress of the busy holiday season and a major presentation or two, and it’s no wonder people are generally short on temper and long on frustration during the month of December. The bad news is that stress can sneak into your voice and mannerisms during presentations, potentially conveying a lack of confidence and knowledge. The good news is you can do something about it. Victoria Chorbajian, president of Chorbajian Speaking Enterprises in Paramus, NJ, and a public speaking coach and media trainer, offers seven techniques for presenters to become more calm and thus more effective in their presentations:

1. Get all the logistics as far in advance as possible. Find out when and where you’ll be speaking, who your audience will be, what they expect to take away from the presentation, whether someone will be introducing you, the room layout and brightness, etc. That way, you’ll feel comfortable with the setting and present information the audience wants to hear, which in turn will make you appear more confident and prepared.

2. Prepare early! Waiting until the last minute to put together a presentation adds stress and most likely will result in a less effective presentation than if you had prepared well in advance.

3. Make appointments to rehearse. “Allocate time in your business calendar on a weekly basis,” says Chorbajian. “By doing so, you will find that you will not feel overwhelmed at all when the speaking day arrives.”

4. Remind yourself repeatedly that the audience is on your side. They want to like you and want to hear how you can help them solve their problems.

5. Shortly before your presentation, take three or four very deep, slow breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.

6. If you still find yourself overwhelmed with stress, call someone who makes you laugh. “One of the best cures for stress is laughing,” says Chorbajian.

7. In the days leading up to your presentation, surround yourself with positive people. Avoid those who keep asking if you’re nervous about the presentation. “Negative comments and energy do affect how we perform in front of an audience,” Chorbajian says. So seek out people who tell you you’ll do great, and chances are you will.

Victoria Chorbajian can be reached at (201) 262-0529 or via email at