How to Present Without Getting (Too) Nervous

The other day I was sharing some writing with a friend, and she asked me, “would you read at a poetry slam with me?”

If she had asked me that question a few years ago, I would’ve heard it as “would you like to present your heart on a platter to a pack of hungry coyotes?” My answer would have been no. Heck. No. But now, after some practice presenting my writing, I can confidently say I could do it with (mostly) no problems.

Presenting your own writing or ideas feels personal, don’t you think? It can bring out your shy, vulnerable side — which can easily turn into paralyzing nerves. In this post, I’ll share my own steps to presenting with confidence so next time you’re in front of a group of people, you’ll stand out for all the right reasons.

Man Giving A Presentation

Step 1: Practice. For real. Out loud.

OK, you might think this step doesn’t apply to you because you already “practice,” right? (Unless you’re one of those people who just wing it and hope for the best — risky!) But, I’m on to you.

By practice, do you mean, “I read it three times inside my head before getting in front of everybody”. That’s not real practice. If you want to be prepared you have to say the words out loud, just like you will when you’re presenting. Sometimes sentences and wording sound fine in your head, but out loud, not so much. This is an opportunity to become comfortable with the words and tighten up sentences you might not have known were awkward and long.

Step 2: Practice in front of someone.

Practicing on your own is a great start. But, it’s not the same as presenting in front of someone — and no, pets don’t count as “someone” just because you feed them and they have a biased opinion that you’re a god.

This is a step a lot of people skip, which is unfortunate because it makes a difference. Practicing saying the words to another person means you have to connect. You have to look up from your piece of paper. Getting used to doing that prepares you for the real thing.

Step 3: Try a stress-reliever before it’s time to shine.

What do you usually do to relieve stress? Practice yoga? Go for a run? Drink tea? Relax before you present and you’ll be in a much better mind-set.

Whether you’re typically shy, or if you’re usually confident — virtually everyone feels butterflies before presenting to a group of peers. But, with some practice and a positive outlook, I promise you’ll feel much better about it!


Have any other presenting tips? Tweet us @AcartComm

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