Your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. Eminem may have made stage fright sound cool(ish), but in reality – nothing about presentation nerves feels badass. It sucks. So, we’re cracking down on how to manage those preso nerves once and for all. And no, it’s not just about taking a deep breath or imagining the audience naked (please don’t do this, it really doesn’t work).

So, how can go from panic mode to professional when your instincts are telling you to quit your job, change your name and count your losses? 

Fortunately, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves. Here’s how you can present like a pro even if you’re freaking out on the inside and manage your presentation nerves.

Nerves don’t have to be the villain

We know that presenting to a group of people can be debilitating. But hey, it doesn’t have to be all bad. Instead of letting your neves get the better of you, utilise them to help you be the best version of yourself. Often, we see our neves as public enemy number one. No butterflies, just a bunch of creepy crawlies making you doubt yourself, your abilities and your worthiness. Rather than seeing nerves as something that needs to be suppressed, see it as a manageable fire in your belly that there to motivate you and mould you into a force to be reckoned with. 

The key here is to understand that it’s not about eliminating nerves altogether. Even the most confident and well-trained presenters experience a fair share of presentation nerves. 

Having some nerves means you care about what you’re doing and about giving a good presentation. Nervousness produces adrenaline and can help you think faster, speak more fluently, and even add enthusiasm to the message you want to convey. 

However, to best utilise the power of nerves, you must know how to stay in control of them, without them taking over the ropes. This is where a good narrative, preparation and training come in hand (but we’re getting to that in a sec).

Stay prepped (even when things don’t go to plan)

The more organised you are, the less nervous you’ll be. If it’s a significant presentation, preparation may include scouting the venue and getting familiar with the area. If it’s an online meeting, this could involve having a trial call to see whether or not your tools, visual aids, audio, and internet connection is stable (including back-ups). However, regardless of how prepared you are, things don’t always go according to plan. Instead, best managing your nerves means knowing you’ll be prepared and equipped to navigate the situation independently, even if things don’t go exactly as planned.

You can do this by ensuring you’re prepped with Missing Link’s Action Framework. The Missing Link Action Framework teaches you how to define your audience, how to reach them, and what motivates their decision-making. In addition, it acts as a blueprint for all presentations, allowing you to refine and build your narrative that will ultimately engage your audience and lead them to action every single time, even if things steer slightly off course.

The audience isn’t your kryptonite

Oprah Audience

It may seem counterintuitive at first because, well, the literal presence of said audience brings on the nervousness in the first place. However, your audience may be your biggest asset yet. When it comes to tackling nerves and the overall success of your presentation, audience involvement is vital. This is because you’re redirecting the focus away from yourself and away from the dreadful internal fear of messing up in front of people. Rather re-prioritise your attention to your audience by asking questions and having them participate in the presentation. 

By switching your presentation from a monologue to a dialogue, you’re removing pressure, reducing nerves, and reminding your brain that this presentation is not about you at all. Instead, it’s about helping your audience, sharing knowledge with them, and allowing them to play a part in the solution.

Manage nerves with unrivalled presentation training

At Missing Link, we believe that success depends on how well you present. No pressure, right? Well, suppose presentation nerves keep stealing the show. In that case, it’s easy to forget about the confident, well-versed, articulate, and sales-savvy presentation powerhouse hiding behind the scenes (it’s you, by the way). Fortunately, when working towards standing and delivering like you’re a bona fide TED Speaker, it’s important to remind yourself that presenting like a pro doesn’t come naturally. Instead, it’s a learned skill and one we can teach you. 

Link up with presentation coaches, learn how to shake off behavioural expectations, and use your unique personality to win over audiences. Our Missing Link Presentation Training course teaches you how to master the message, prep your preso and stand and deliver, getting rid of nerves (and boredom) one epic presentation at a time.