Beat your nerves – 3 Steps to a Successful Presentation

how to overcome the butterflies and make a successful presentation

In every presentation your goal is for your audience to grasp and remember the information that you are presenting. Unfortunately that goal will not be achieved if you appear nervous. A nervous speaker distracts the focus of the audience from the content of their presentation onto their shaky hands, wobbly voice or over-rapid delivery.

However it’s normal for all of us to get nervous when presenting. According to Marc Twain, considered by many to be the greatest figure of American literature, there are two kinds of public speakers: ‘the Nervous and the Liar’. In other words, everyone gets nervous speaking in public, it’s just that some are better at hiding their nerves than others.

Whilst we can’t all be the next Barack Obama, everyone is capable of delivering a presentation in a way that will captivate an audience. For most people this takes time and a great deal of practice. However if you are a first time speaker, or a nervous one, the following steps will go a long way to helping you deliver a successful presentation.

Step 1. Preparation

Take time to prepare for your presentation. Check every angle of your presentation. Practice in front of the mirror, in front of your family or record yourself on video and watch yourself back. Every bit of information should be clear and easily understood by your audience. If you know that your presentation is well prepared and well received by your personal focus group you will be much more confident when delivering it for real.

The second phase of preparation is setting up the venue. Your audience will grow impatient if they need to wait while you’re setting up your materials. Before the presentation starts, check the sound system and visual aids and make sure both are working properly.

Step 2. Check the Room Environment

One of the top factors that affects learning is the room environment. People learn better when the session is safe and welcoming. Make sure you arrive early and get a feel of the room. According to experts, teachers often focus more on the T-Zone, the front row and middle seats all the way to the back. These students receive more attention and often can recall more from the presentation. So if there are lesser number of participants encourage them to sit in the T-zone.

As your audience enters the venue, greet them warmly with a handshake and introduce yourself. This will help you create a positive environment.

Step 3. Encourage your audience to interact

Interaction encourages memory and connection. If your audience asks questions or shares their thoughts it demonstrates they are thinking about the topic at a deeper level.  When answering questions or responding to points from the floor never criticize an opinion and always be open minded to ideas.


These three steps are a great start to perfecting your presentations. First Take’s presentation training course goes much further with professional performance coaches analyzing your body language, delivery, posture as well as the content of your presentation. It’s an intensive training that will make big improvements in your presentation technique.

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