How to deal with presentation butterflies

Anxious lady in mirror

The first and most important thing to remember is that NO ONE likes making presentations. Some people are just better at hiding the nerves than others. Repeat that to yourself, twenty times, in front of a mirror if it helps, before reading on…

The key to a good presentation is to make it SASSY, and this is how:


Firstly your presentation should contain structure, it should flow. There should be an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion, each section should be linked to the next. When your presentation flows smoothly, it makes it easier to remember. Practise getting the structure right by rehearsing, read your material aloud again and again, until you know it inside-out.


Adding visuals to your presentation will not only enhance what you are saying but will take the focus off the speaker too.


Smiling is a relaxant: whenever you smile you subconsciously make yourself happy, and despite what you feel inside this will make you appear confident on the outside. So smile, take deep controlled breaths, in through your nose, and out through your smiling mouth.


When you are standing in front of your audience remember to speak slowly. It is a natural instinct to speak quickly, maybe just to make the whole ordeal finish sooner, but you will have failed in your presenting task if you have not put your point across successfully. Slow it down.


Yes, I know that everything has been about YOU so far, how you feel, why you feel it, how to put it to good use. But, it’s time to stop focusing on you: it doesn’t matter what you think or feel, it only matters what you say. The audience is only there because they need to learn and understand what you are saying. The focus is on the audience, you are only there to give them the information. It’s all about them, not you.


Just be SASSY and remember that EVERYONE gets nervous, it makes no difference if you are making a presentation to your classmates, or for a huge business venture, if it is your first time or if you make presentations every week. Being nervous can range from just a mild anticipation to a full-blown anxiety attack, but there ARE ways of dealing with this, and even making it work to your advantage.

By Sharren Bessant


Published On: 25th Jan 2010

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1 Comment
  1. I love giving presentations!

    I used to train trainers – and gave them the same advice every time… it works!

    Life is a bit like the Grand National course – a few straight stretches, and a lot of jumps. It’s important to remember that there’s a far side to every jump… they aren’t brick walls, so when contemplating a nervy event, always plan what you’re going to do immediately afterward – it has a marvellous neutralising effect and emphasises that your “ordeal” is only a hitch!

    if you’re looking for something to plan, why not make it a celebratory treat for yourself for a job well done?!!!

    Graeme Collins 19 Feb at 8:48 am
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