Why you SHOULD be nervous about presenting


Why you SHOULD be nervous about presenting (even if you’re not)


You’ve probably seen the statistics. More than 75% of people feel some form of anxiety or nervousness about presenting. You may even have seen the Seinfeld episode where he says that most people at a funeral would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.

Whilst there is a medical condition which relates to a fear of presenting (Glossophobia), the majority of people who feel anxious about presenting do not have this condition. They are experiencing something else.

If you watched the acceptance speech by the winner of the women’s final of the 2019 Australian Open, Naomi Osaka, you would have heard her first words after being handed the trophy were “Sorry. Public speaking isn’t really my strong side. I just hope I can get through this.” If someone with that level of success experiences anxiety about presenting, it’s a good sign that you don’t get great at presenting just because you’re great at your job.

People who feel confident about presenting (which may come from having done it many times, just being a confident person or even ignorance about their presentation skills) are equally likely to be feeling over-confident for the wrong reasons.

In both these cases, whether not being confident enough, or being too confident, the cause is the same:


You think your presentation is about you.

You are either worried or cavalier about how you are going to come across, what people are going to think about you, whether they will accept what you are saying, whether they will respect you afterwards, whether you will make any difference. You, you, you ,you ,you you. When it comes to presenting, thinking about how you come across should be completely irrelevant, and we will look at why and how to make that so later. Firstly though, there are 6 reasons people should be nervous about their presentations.


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David Wayne