When you’re not at least a little bit nervous before a presentation… be worried

by Oliver Adria on 30/03/2012

In connection to my previous post about being nervous during a presentation, I want to follow-up and even state that: If you’re not at least a little bit nervous before a presentation, you should be worried. I do about 10 to 40 presentations a year. And during some of the “peak presentation times”, when I might do 2-3 of a very similar presentation in the same week – it’s possible that I might think “no need to worry about anything, I’ll do this well, piece of cake”. But those are often the times I present badly.

When I’m not nervous, I feel like I don’t need to prepare or “pump up” before the presentation – I’m uninspired and not as motivated. And it shows during the presentation. The energy level is low, there’s no excitement. It’s hard to fake passion or excitement and the audience will pick up on this. When I get into a phase like this, I usually try to do something differently during a presentation, just to keep myself on the edge, just to move out of my comfort zone a little bit. For instance, perhaps I will add 2-3 “edgy” and daring slides, just to see how the audience reacts. Perhaps I will try to add some additional interactive parts (e.g. ask questions). Or maybe insert a short personal anecdote. If you feel like you’re starting to get a bit too much routine with a presentation, try to find ways to make it more exciting! Any great and seasoned presenter will tell you that even they still get a little nervous before getting up on stage.

Being a bit nervous before a presentation is a good thing. It keeps your mind sharp and focused, it keeps you excited. The audience will appreciate that.

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