No Image Available

Seb Anthony

Read more from Seb Anthony

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

how to combat nerves


I am delivering a series of Effective Presenting courses, where my aim is to assist those presenters who ,without the crutch of the all singing all dancing powerpoint, have forgotten how to be an effective presenter themselves! The courses are going really well but I would like to add an activity or session that helps delegates combat their nerves during those stressful pre delivery moments. Any ideas or suggestions would be great. Many thanks.
Sally Foan
People Tree Training
sally foan

7 Responses

  1. from the thespian profession
    I used to work with a guy whose day job is as an actor…he has a brilliant little actorly exercise that revolves around the different emotions created/engendered by the way you say certain words;
    (Depending on the sensitivity of the audience you can play around with this but his favourites are the mental comment before undertaking a presentation you are worried about…”Oh, s**t!)
    He gets the delegates to stand and say the words several times under their breath…it makes them feel a bit apprehensive.
    He asks them to rate their level of apprehensiveness on the “Bottle-o-meter”; 1- cool as a cucumber up to
    10-dreading it. (Average score 11)
    Then he gets them to put their hands across their belly with the fingers just touching…take a deep breath to force the fingers apart and repeat the phrase with a slight difference…”Hot s**t!”
    Bigger Breath….louder
    repeat, repeat
    “Bottle-o-meter” (average score 4)
    He then points out that it is a good thing to have some butterflies in the belly but the trick is to get them flying in formation.
    Also remeber that no one else can see them….
    I have used this for years and it works…I tone the terminolgy down if appropriate to “Oh damn”, “Hot damn” or “Woo hoo”, “Yee Hah”
    Try it

  2. Preparation, Preparation, Preparation
    Yes, knowing your presentation, your subject, your audience really well helps to control the nerves. Physically putting your hands together (finger tips) helps to release the nervous energy although you can end up looking stupid. However, as I started, if you know your presentation, subject, audience (by that I mean, know how they think, what there agendas may be) helps enormously – fear of the unknown is the biggest fear – so if you know the above…..

  3. What would Al Pacino Do?
    The best advice I have ever heard on this one comes from Philip Beadle, Guardian secondary teacher of the year. He asks ‘What would Al Pacino do?’ In other words, remember that you dominate the room through your presence. I thoroughly recommend his humorous article on the subject:,5500,1432179,00.html. In particular, his point about the use of voice and silence are interesting.

  4. further to Lynn’s comment
    Good point Lynn…fingers on belly will make you look stupid in front of the audience. Not half as much as yelling “Hot damn” at them though!
    When you are actually presenting for real do that bit elsewhere.
    (Mind you it might liven up some conferences!)

  5. thanks
    Many thanks for your suggestions folks I will certainly read the article suggested and try the exercises with my next course.

  6. Effective Presentations
    Hi Sally, happy to send you my tip ten tips for presenting with punch presence and power that accompanied a recent newsletter I wrote on the subject.

    Drop me a mail and I’ll get it to you.




Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!