How to Become a Resilient Presenter

How to Become a Resilient Presenter is not going to teach you resilience TODAY, but it is going to offer some quick tips to follow to frame setbacks and the experience of demoing and presenting to improve your close rate today. In a study published by PwC in 2014 businesses that offered training for resilience and mental health, or building a healthy corporate culture, returned $2.30 for every dollar spent — with the return coming in the form of lower health care costs, higher productivity, lower absenteeism and decreased turnover. Organizational resilience training is profitable and we explore how innate resilience can be accessed and replicated as learned resilience which both inform our presentation and sales skills. For more general information on Resilience, we highly recommend reading this and the articles referenced in this piece. 

Resilience Theory and Identifying Resilience

 Famous researcher Norman Garmezy is the pioneer of Resilience Theory and posits that it is not the nature of adversity we overcome that makes us resilient but our reaction to it. It is not an easy theory to apply and there are many many facets of resilience, such as there being points in your life where you are more resilient than others, resilience in response to environmental pressures, innate and genetic resilience and the levels of resilience, personal, organizational, and cultural. In the professional sector, many people identify resilience as one of the most important traits to possess and during interviews it is a common claim, however it is impossible to prove because how do you measure resilience if you are not facing adversity and how would you know if one adversity or setback would elicit resilient behavior over maladaptive behavior? 

Resilience in the Workplace: Context 

Most of us tap into our own resilience that is innate and also shaped by our experiences, which is why it is so difficult to quantify in the workplace. In the face of adversity, some will have an easier time putting a negative event into a context that is beneficial to future success, while others will not. This is a mental exercise in perception and practice, at the moment, and for the future it is necessary that the individual will not recall the negative experience in a way that negatively impacts their next performance. This in itself takes practice if it is not innate to automatically look beyond a setback to better opportunities and not replaying the scenario and using maladaptive behaviors. SO, what are the factors of resilience to look for innately and how to instill these skills in a sales team, ie how to become a resilient presenter. 

Innate Resilience: How do we get it, Where does it come from? 

There are three characteristics that are identified in resilient people according to Diane Coutu, of Harvard Business Review in her piece How Resilience Works. This was the impetus for this blog, and can be found here. According to Coutu, who combined three of the leading theories on resilience, resilience relies on an accurate understanding of reality, the ability to search for meaning, and the ability to improvise. Let’s explore how these operate. 

Accurate Sense of Reality 

According to resilience studies including those conducted on Holocaust survivors and survivors of prolonged torture by Vietcong, it was not optimism that kept people alive but realism. A pollyanna type of view that one would be rescued any day was not helpful in these situations. What mattered were the minute in the moment decisions to survive without day dreaming of alternate realities. 

Always Finding Meaning 

The next characteristic may sound like false optimism, but searching for meaning is more of a bridge over setbacks. It is entrenched in the knowledge that you there will be better futures. In organizations, this can be a positive and supportive corporate culture or management, in the face of uncertainty that the business will survive and thrive, and in a personal sense, it can be faith or religion. The operation of the characteristic is easier to explain using the inverse of searching for meaning, or becoming a victim. When one assumes a victim mentality, they are not confident in the future, and this informs future performance, and decision making suffers. The key to meaning is finding it in every moment and not attaching the search for meaning to all situations and contexts. For organizations, this is one of the reasons for building a solid corporate culture. 

Always Improvising 

Tools for How to Become a Resilient Presenter

If you have the tools are you improvising with them? Call Demo Solutions

Claude Levi-Strauss, French Anthropologist, coined the term bricolage for ritualized inventiveness. Bricoleurs as he called them were the sortof people who are always making things work, no matter what. Whether a bicycle or a business, these workers do not stop and always find ways to keep moving. When businesses fall apart, you see Bricoleurs as the ones coming up with the ingenious pivot. Leaders benefit from hiring Bricoleurs, but can identify these traits on paper or in interviews. The most successful presentation and demo pros exhibit this characteristic trait in their response to audiences. 

These three traits are the core of resilience identification. They are innate traits that can be trained for. Training for these characteristics, is not dissimilar to emotional intelligence training. In fact, the same level of mastery that is requisite in reading audiences and being a great presenter, is requisite for being resilient and having a high EQ. Let’s go over these again as they relate to resilience. 

How to Become a Resilient Presenter: Resilience Training 

Here are some tips that help you tap into your inner resilience prior to demos and presentations, to demo better tomorrow. If you are looking for more substantive Resilience Training, give us a call! 

Cognitive Load Levels 

Stop multitasking. Founder, Ed Jaffe, discusses this frequently in his webinars, podcasts, and presentations. We really cannot multi task and it leaves room for your mind to fill up with unhelpful thoughts during presentations and demos. 


In the same vein as doing on thing at once, focus only on the one task and people in front of you. This really takes practice, but the good news is there is a MOUNTAIN of training and techniques for mindfulness and they are likely sponsored by your organization. We also offer portions of mindfulness exercises in our modules for EQ. 


Take breaks. Before your next demo or presentation take some breaks and clear your mind of what is filling it, especially if you find yourself drifting into unhelpful thoughts or victim mentality. Just break from it. Your breaks in nature or in a play mode are proven to improve performance in the long term. 

Mental Agility 

This is like the mental Bricoleur practice. Become a master of reframing an experience. In the moment you experience a setback, this is the ability to recenter quickly and not become stuck in a negative space that can lead to a maladaptive behavior. In the demo and presentation space, this is incredibly important because if you make a Demo Fail, you need to be able to recover quickly. 

If you would like more information on our coursework in resilience training, webinars, or contact Demo Solutions for custom coaching, please reach out! 

Extended Reading

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