74% of the population suffer from this…

After a football match at University a friend of mine noticed that someone had left their jacket behind.

We’d been playing on an astro-turf pitch, and there were loads of other matches going on alongside us.

He held the jacket up, and announced loudly to everyone there (probably about 50 people); “has anyone lost their jacket?”

Sure enough, one of the guys came trotting over to collect it – thanking him as he went.

The next day we had to give a presentation as part of our course. It was my friend’s turn soon, I looked over and noticed that he was really nervous.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

He told me that he was terrified of public speaking (a phobia he shares with a reported 74% of the population!)

But, when you think about it, the crowd that he was about to be speaking to was made up of ten people – whereas, less than 24 hours ago, I’d seen him shouting to get the attention of 50+ people.

I told him this.

“Yeah, but I had something to say then…” he began.

“And you don’t have something to say now?”

He went on to deliver a great presentation. I’m not saying that I inspired him (my own presentation was most likely awful) but, sometimes it’s good to have someone on hand who’ll help you think about things in a different way.

Sure, maybe there’s more to say in a presentation than just ‘is this your jacket?’, but the principles are still the same.

You wouldn’t ask about the jacket if you didn’t think anyone wanted to know, so apply that same logic to your pitching or presentation.

Perspective. It’s a funny thing, right?