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CEOs scared of presentations

stage fright

Over 60 per cent of Australia’s CEOs and business owners have fears when it comes to giving presentations, according to an independent survey conducted by cloud-based presentation company Prezi.

The findings, sourced from a survey of over 1,000 Australians, revealed 61.4 per cent of CEOs and business owners have at least one fear when presenting. The three lead qualms include the fear of embarrassing one’s self, boring the audience, and having something interrupt their message, such as a technology fault or a question they are unable to answer.

Interestingly, despite the fact many experience a level of stage fright, 59 per cent said they don’t mind or even enjoy giving presentations. The skills needed to hold strong presentations are considered essential, as evidenced by over 86 per cent who said presentation skills are important for career progress and success.

Drew Banks, Head of International at Prezi, said preparation and practice is crucial for a good presentation.

“Although CEOs and business owners are strapped for time, it’s always risky to go into a presentation unprepared. Every audience is different, except that everyone hates an unprepared speaker and a boring presentation,” Mr Banks said.

“When presenters don’t practice they end up reading their palm cards, or worse–turning their back on the audience and reading directly from their slides. Nothing bores an audience more than staring at a presenter’s downturned head or back.”

30 per cent of CEOs and business owners said they do not practice their presentations at all, while 35 per cent of those who do practice do so only in their heads. Only 14 per cent make sure they practice in front of family and friends.

“Most of us get nervous when presenting,” Mr Banks said.

“We want to make a good impression and engage the audience. With a practiced narrative, fear is transformed into authenticity and passion. Authenticity and passion are engaging.”