Guided Learning: Presentation Nerves

Content & How to use

Many people are experiencing nerves when presenting. This is a very natural response to somthing you don't do on a daily basis and being in front of a group of people. In most cases the nerves are manageable and even make you sharper and more aware. For some people the nerves are blocking them to deliver a good presentation or to volunteer to deliver a presentation. 

In this topic guide you can find some useful tips on how to deal with presentation nerves.


The most common tip provided is to rehearse your presentation over and over and be well prepared. This might help some people, but our experience is as well that if you rehearse too much, you only keep thinking of the exact words that you prepared and get a black out when you cannot come up with these words. Rather think of some key words per slide, make sure you know the content in general and trust yourself that you can improvise during the presentation.

Second tip: don't take an example in well known public speakers or vloggers that you see in TED talks, on YouTube and Instagram. They are a different league and do this for money.


Make sure your mind and body can function optimally when doing the presentation by having enough sleep the night before, not drinking any alcohol, coffee or energy drinks just before, and do some physical exercise the day before. Doing yoga or a meditation exercise on the morning itself also help to feel calm.


Just before the presentation
This might sound like a strange advice, but eat a banana just before your presentation. Bananas are natural beta blockers and reduce adrenaline.

Chewing gum also helps to make your brain more alert and reduce anxiety.

Taking deep breaths (to the stomach) instead of breathing very shallow helps you to feel more calm and relaxed. The same goes for relaxation and visualization exercises.

Massaging your forehead just before the presentation, energizes the front of your brain and the speech center.


During the presentation
Your nerves often want you to rush through your presentation, while pausing regularly to breathe actually makes you more relaxed as well as easier to listen to.

The same goes for making eye contact. This also helps to feel support from your audience and see that they are not about to eat you alive.


After the presentation
Reflect on what you did well and don't think about the things you could improve. Your first step is to reduce your nerves, improving other points of your presentation will come later.

If you are someone that can take compliments and not only listens to the criticism, you can also ask your audience for feedback.

Giving presentations is like riding bikes. You need to practice and challenge yourself to become better and know how to break. Giving a different kind of presentation to a new audience, just like riding a different bike in a city you are unfamiliar, will always be a bit more complicated and thereby lead to more nerves.


Sources and more information
Article Skills you need - Coping with presentation nerves
Video YouTube - How to not get nervous speaking in front of people
Video YouTube - Beyond the common presentation tips