Who is Hank Walshak? Hank Walshak, founder, owner, and CEO of Walshak Communications, Inc., is a communications consultant, executive presentation coach, and author. He focuses on helping knowledge entrepreneurs in small and mid-sized businesses and their owners create expertise-related content to differentiate themselves as experts. Read More

The Zen of Presentations

You’re getting ready to deliver an important presentation to a potential, new client. Getting a yes when you’re done could mean a heap of new business.

But here you are. You know that presenting sets your nerves on high. Your stomach gets nervous. You breathing goes high in your upper chest. Your mouth goes dry. And your palms turn sweaty. What to do?

Well, it’s time to take a hint from the practitioners of Zen meditation. When they sit in meditation, they move the mind inwardly to a point an inch below the navel. Then, they concentrate on their breathing in and out from there.

So what’s the big deal about deep, belly breathing like this?  Deep breathing helps you in three ways:

Before you present, deep belly breathing slows your mental and physical system down and helps to quiet your nerves. By going slower, you’re more focused and productive. 

Focusing on your breathing takes your mind off anxiety related thoughts. You can’t think of two things at once. This enables you to concentrate on what your supposed to be doing–relating and concentrating on presenting to your potential client.

Concentrating on your breathing helps you to stay present minded. Not worried about how you’re doing or what your prospect will think of you. You stay better with the task at hand–your presentation.

Will this take practice? You bet. But it’s worth it. Just start simply. Begin by focusing on your breathing for just 60 seconds. Once you’re comfortable with this, increase your breathing-focus time by another 60 seconds. Increase your time as you become more comfortable with concentrating on your breathing. With practice, you’ll improve.