Do you have fear of presentations?

Making a presentation can be nerve wracking. Here are some proven techniques to help your confidence. One of the greatest challenges when making a presentation to a group is overcoming anxiety; dealing with fear. In fact, research shows that many people fear speaking in front of a group more than death! How can that be possible?

Try this test.






1. When I’m nervous in front of a group I talk too much.

2. If I have to give a presentation I worry about it for days beforehand.

3. When someone is difficult and confronts me in public, I can handle it well.

4. I enjoy standing up in front of a group and making a presentation.


















If you scored 11-12 – you are doing well and you are unlikely to have the fear.
If you scored 0-6 – you have a fear that needs to be conquered!
And 7-10 – you can improve and make life easier when it comes to presentations.

Let’s tackle the five major challenges when making a presentation:

1. The fear spiral

It’s important to remember that a little anxiety is a good thing – it makes you alert and energises you. But if your anxiety level gets quite high, one simple technique can really help.

Tell yourself it does not look as bad as it feels

As long as you keep reminding yourself that it doesn’t look as bad on the outside as it feels on the inside, you will avoid the fear spiral and within a few minutes you should be alright.


2. The talking trap

When people are anxious, they often talk too much when speaking in public. When a presenter talks too much, the communication becomes one way. The audience becomes less interested; they switch off… sometimes literally. The trick here is to always actively involve your audience in the presentation. Right from the start!

Actively involve your audience in the presentation

Ask them questions, survey them for a show of hands on a relevant question. Involving your audience actively achieves several objectives. Your audience will enjoy the presentation more. It takes the pressure off you to do all the work, so it helps you cope with anxiety. It’s also an important way of getting information about your audience – their concerns, their skills, their motivations. And this helps you pitch your presentation at the right level.


3. The unmotivated group


Many presentations are not motivating for the audience. When making a presentation, you have to engage the attention of your audience, and you can do this by explaining what is in it for them.

Explain what is in it for them

You need to ask yourself; how will my audience benefit from my presentation? How will their work be easier, faster, and more efficient? How can they save time, money, effort? Now, if you can’t answer these questions, why are you making the presentation in the first place?

Be creative about ways to actively involve the audience. Remember to make the presentation two-way! Think of discussion questions, activities, even games, to get them actively participating. It will ensure enjoyment and motivation, and increase the chance that you get your message across. And that will make you feel much more confident!

4. Unplanned interruptions

One of the most feared situations faced by people making presentations is interruptions or difficult person. A mobile phone ringing in the middle of a meeting and someone answering it can be a total disruption. When an interruption like this happens, the audience gets distracted and their attention will be focused on the interruption and not on you. But there’s a simple technique for dealing with this…

Pause and wait for interruption to end

It’s great – everyone will turn to the person who is interrupting and they will feel they need to leave the room or end the call.


5. The difficult person

The most difficult audience member is one who disagrees with you and whose behavior may seem like a personal attack. Now the mistake most presenters make is to try to convince or persuade the difficult person, but usually the harder they push the more embroiled the situation becomes – and it is often a two-way situation in the mist of the group. The best thing to do here is to:

Ask audience to resolve disagreement

Ask the audience to resolve the disagreement themselves. Put the issue back on to the group.

Presentations – you can learn to love them! So why don’t you get rid of anxiety and become confident by using these suggested Ash.Quarry techniques.



By Eve Ash, psychologist and Managing Director, Seven Dimensions, and partner in Ash.Quarry Productions, co-producer with Peter Quarry of the best selling DVD – Presentations without Fear (Teamwork Essentials Series)


For more Eve Ash blogs, click here.



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