Don’t you get nervous?

Don’t you get nervous?

It’s a question I’m often asked after I present at a conference or conduct an in-house professional development program for a client.

Whilst I’ve been presenting or training for over 20 years, I still get butterflies in my stomach before I present.

I’ve grown to understand that this Is a good thing.

It means I’m excited and keen to give all that I can to my audiences to help them get more productive!

What I also recognise is this it is not the same for everyone, especially if you only present once every now and then.

So what I do I tell people when they say they get nervous?

Firstly, I reassure them that they probably don’t need to be, then I go on to share a concept that most people are familiar with, the 10,000 hour rule. The rule was bought to prominence by author Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliners, regarding the perception of the number of ‘hours’ it takes to become an ‘expert’ on a subject.

10,000 hours equates to over 400 days.

Reality is, if you’ve been working in an organisation for more than a couple of years, it’s likely you know a lot more about your organisation’s products or services than you think.

When preparing to present, one of the things that gets people stuck is the belief that they need to have a ‘crutch’ such as slide deck presentation, so they don’t forget something.

If the slide deck has too much detail, they end up like an old school teacher or lecturer reading from a script, which sounds robotic and is far from engaging.

The best way to overcome nervousness, but still have a feeling of support is to create a presentation with just four or five key points, depending upon the length of your presentation, and then step back and trust yourself.

Trust that after ‘X’ number of years, you know your industry, you know your products or you know your service and can easily expand or collapse content to fill your presentation timeslot.

The benefit, if you forget something no one knows except you!

But if you have too detailed a framework, missing something becomes obvious, or if you are running out of time you end up ‘skipping’ over slides and not looking as professional and knowledgeable as you want to.

So if you find yourself getting nervous, what do you do?

Do you default back to making your slide deck ‘better’, whatever that means to you, or do you practice or visualise the delivery and conversation you plan to have with your audience and trust that you will intuitively know what to say relative to each of your points?

I don’t know about you, but I find viewing my presentations as a conversation with my audience rather than just telling them ‘stuff’ makes me feel less nervous and more comfortable that I’m providing them with valuable insights that will make their lives easier.

Is it time you turned your next presentation from a lecture to a conversation?

Donna Hanson is a professional speaker, trainer and educator who works with organisations and their teams to increase productivity, teamwork and collaboration.

Find out how Donna can help kickstart your team’s productivity at your next conference, professional development day or retreat, visit or call +61 39457 4745.

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