8 tips for conquering presentation nerves

by Sep 24, 20203Plus, Career, Communication

Conquer your Presentation Nerves

Even the most seasoned of speakers get nervous before making a presentation both in person or online. Here are 8 tips to conquer those presentation nerves.


Even the most seasoned of speakers gets presentation nerves – so don’t be surprised if you do. It’s normal. We worry about being boring, people leaving the meeting, forgetting our content, needing to go to the bathroom, being unable to answer questions, keeping the audience engaged, or technology letting us down. The list is endless. I once saw a top politician have a bad case of brain freeze on national television. She just forgot her main points.

With the recent move to #WFH during the Covid19 pandemic there is an increase in online presentations, events and meetings. We can use the same tips for in person or online, just adapting our body language and managing our own technology, which can be daunting.

But some nerves are good, it means the adrenalin is kicking in.


So here are 8 tips that help even experienced presenter make a flawless delivery!


Tip 1: Think positive thoughts!

Focus on how well you are going to do rather than get caught up in a cycle of self-destructive negative thoughts. Remember you can’t live a positive life with a negative mind and that philosophy drills down to every thought you have.  Yes, every one!  If you convince yourself you are going to mess up, the chances are …you will. Own your capacity for success and you will succeed!

Tip 2: Channel your energy

Whether you do the TED star Amy Cuddy power pose, stretch out, voice exercises or stand on your chair and howl at the moon. Get to a place where you feel empowered.

Tip 3: Concentrate on something other than you

This shifts the focus from what’s going on for you, to an external object or person. Look closely at a light or door at the back of the room. The usher in the side aisle, or the woman with a blue dress in the 5th row. It doesn’t matter. With the current #WFH this can be more challenging on screen. You can concentrate by working on maintaining eye contact with your camera, take a look at our virtual presence blog which includes video’s with Nancy Milton to Improve your Virtual Presence Instantly.

Tip 4: Don’t forget to breathe!

Whether we become agitated or paralysed with nerves, breathing always helps. Body language coach Sofie-Ann Bracke recommends taking three or four deep, evenly paced,  inhaling and exhaling regularly and slowly. Let your belly go and the breath move all the way down into your abdomen. This centres your energy and focuses your thoughts.

Tip 5: Control your body language

Beware of the nervous ticks that kick in when you are in front of an audience. Whether it’s playing with your glasses, fiddling with your hair, tapping your fingers or foot, or sitting/standing awkwardly and rocking from side to side, we all have little strategies that help us feel comfortable. Ask for feedback from a trusted coach or colleague and practise in front of a mirror to self-monitor. Conscious rehearsed movement is perfectly fine says Sofie-Ann, especially if it resonates and is in time with your verbal content to make a message more impactful.


Tip 6: Vary the pitch of your delivery

You can strengthen your message by adjusting the tone and pace of your delivery. Make sure that it is line with the content and the emphasis you want to convey.  Rehearse well so that you are pitch perfect! If you have a strong accent compensate by allowing pauses so that people understand you. If you use regional colloquialisms think about providing a translation service.

You can throw in a bit of humour, the most powerful tool for nerves there is!

Tip 7: Drink water before you start talking!

If you get a dry throat or mouth,  drink water before you start speaking off stage or camera. No you won’t need the bathroom! Once on the stage the glugging sound will be picked up by the audio. Practise your voice warming exercises at the same time between sips.

Tip 8: Prepare for the unexpected

Everyone wants you to succeed, but sometimes things go wrong even with masses of practise and rehearsing. Have a few little disaster one liners up your sleeve – just in case. It helps break the tension for both you and the audience. Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain and George Bernard Shaw are all good regular fall backs!

Here’s one from Miley Cyrus:

I always say the minute I stop making mistakes is the minute I stop learning and I’ve definitely learned a lot.

Need help with your presentation skills? – then Contact Us we can help.


Guest Contributor Subscriber
3Plus is delighted to publish posts from guest contributers

Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services

Individual services

Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.

Corporate services

The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)

Upcoming events

Book Now

Linkedin Live on Ageism Friday 24th September 2pm BST with Hung Lee

Join Dorothy Dalton and colleagues -  Jo Weech, Head of People, (Exemplary Consultants),  Jacob Sten Madsen, Talent Acquisition Advisor (Nielsen) & Anne-Hermine Nicolas, Head of Executive Recruitment (ex-Deloitte), Frank Zupan, Director of Talent Management (Associated Materials) to discuss critical issues in Hung Lee’s Brainfood Live.

You can register here.




Dates for the Diary

September  21st -  ENGIE Gender bias in Performance Assessment online
September 24th -  Linkedin Live on Ageism with Hung Lee
October 26th - Banque de Luxembourg Préjugés sexistes dans le processus de recrutment.



We have Remote Learning Programs available 

Check out our exciting portfolio of offerings to support your business in upskilling and competence building for your teams, to address the unprecedented challenges that women face in this new totally a digital world.

Download and listen free podcasts

Related articles

A small way men can be better allies

A small way men can be better allies

There are situations that most men would not give a second thought to, but women are programmed to think about their personal security. There are ways men can be better allies to women with simple steps.

read more

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
3 Plus International Call Back Request