Overcoming nerves

Rose asks Phil how to overcome your fear before a big presentation, and turn it into positive energy on stage. Discover our Chief Inspiration Officer’s tips to find your inner zen before a big event.


Rose: Welcome to The Business Presentation Revolution, your calming cup of presentation tea. Phil, is everything okay?

Phil: I’m just really feeling kind of nervous. I just don’t think I’m properly prepared for today.

Rose: Well you’re in luck because today’s episode is all about calming presentation nerves. We all get them. (Phil, we’re recording.) So right before we were talking about how to calm presentation nerves. Before we get into some solutions, let’s take a stage fright diagnostic. Phil, can I ask you a few questions about how you feel? Is your heart racing? How’s your voice? Can you try saying something?

Phil: It’s kind of dry and hard to get it out.

Rose: OK. Are you able to focus? Can you look straight ahead for a moment? Yeah, it’s a little hard to keep direct eye contact.

Phil: I ’m just too stressed.

Rose: O K, let’s see if we can find where the issue arose. So, thinking about preparing for your “presentation” today: did you prepare in a four-part process and think about the ideas and creating the presentation?

Phil: No.

Rose: Okay, did you rehearse? Did you try to practice a few times, maybe even five or six times?

Phil: No.

Rose: Okay, did you get some sleep last night? Maybe six hours or more?

Phil: No.

Rose: All right. And… did you have coffee?

Phil: Yes. (-Two.)

Rose: Yeah, I know you Phil. OK. So here are a few common traps and things that will absolutely activate your nerves. Do you want to talk a little bit more about that Phil?

Phil: Well absolutely because to be honest stage fright happens to everybody. And even if you don’t get stage fright you do get nerves. Now I speak in public all the time but I do get nervous before a major presentation. We all do. It was Mark Twain who said, “the world only has two categories of speakers: the nervous and the liars.” So we all get it, right? The question is, how do we make sure it doesn’t paralyze us and how do we actually channel that nervous energy and give that energy to our audience rather than letting it paralyze us like it did me a few moments ago.

Rose: Absolutely. And that’s definitely a lot of where our work comes in as coaches. We work with people all the time to help them relax and get centered, but also just to learn how to prepare well. There is one other thing we didn’t touch on and this is sort of a back-pocket, secret weapon towards nerves and that is: the energy or feeling that’s running through your body coming out as trembles sometimes, this is fear. But on the other side of fear is excitement. So connecting to your purpose and what is actually exciting you about presenting, this can really help energize you in a positive way. And remember, this isn’t your presentation. This is theirs. So get out of yourself. Come back to the preparation. Avoid the coffee if you can. Get some good night’s sleep and prepare.

Phil: Absolutely. Always focus not on what could go wrong but think about what could go right. Imagine your audience enjoying your presentation, getting your key messages and then achieving your objectives because it’s up to them to achieve your objectives for you. So imagine all of that happening. Visualize that happening and it helps a lot. But, you know what I find? It’s that rehearsing your presentation, knowing that that presentation is well-prepared and is going to hit the target with that audience is actually more than half the battle. The rest of it is making sure that you’re not putting your body in a stressful situation by having coffee, which is wonderful if you want to be productive and creative, but it’s not great when you’re speaking because not only does it make you speak a lot faster, which actually reduces your credibility, it also dries out your throat and it increases your stress levels. You don’t want to be doing that when you’re presenting.

Rose: So, three things to remember: one, you’re not alone. Everybody gets presentation nerves, even Phil. Two, prepare and rehearse. Three, take care of your body and your body will take care of you.


  • You’re not alone: we all get nerves.
  • Prepare and rehearse to turn fear into excitement.
  • Take care of your body: avoid coffee, get good sleep, and breathe.

Phil: Thanks for joining The Business Presentation Revolution! We’ve got so much more to share with you so please subscribe to our YouTube channel or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and share this with your colleagues. We’d love to hear your questions and stories too. And we’ll look forward to seeing you next time.