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Presentation Skill: Using Nervousness to Your Advantage

July 3, 2015 / Blog honing presentation skills, presentation anxiety, presentation tips, Rick Enrico, SlideGenius

Feeling nervous isn’t unusual. Everybody’s been uncomfortable at least once in their lives, especially when giving speeches or presentations to large groups of people.

Even professionals still experience this from time to time.

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Are you anxious when you’re onstage? It could be because you’re afraid of committing mistakes, receiving negative feedback, or being rejected.

To cope with these, know how to control anxiety to avoid messing up the presentation.

Fight or Flight

This type of response is defined as either facing or escaping from a situation. It’s supposedly a natural coping mechanism that’s triggered by signs of danger in the environment. However, when there’s no actual danger around, you could just be anxious.

Some presenters experience anxiety when speaking in front of a crowd, causing them to perspire and their hearts to beat faster.

However, in a post on Quick and Dirty Tips, pubic speaking coach, Lisa B. Marshall, explains how anxiety can be a type of good stress that allows speakers to be at the top of their game on stage.

How Does It Benefit Your Presentation?

While most presenters are focused on improving their presentation skill, they rarely notice how nervousness affects their performance.

Even if you have an effective PowerPoint presentation, you may fail if you let your nervousness control you.

To prevent this from happening, turn your anxiety around to your advantage:

Know Your Material

One great public speaking fear is suddenly forgetting what’s next on your notes. Occasional lagging is normal in your memory, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Remedy this by conducting advanced research about your topic.

Study your message and rehearse your presentation to reduce uneasiness. Being familiar with your topic will allow you to properly manage your fear because you’ll always have at least a general idea of what you’re talking about.

Speak with Emotions

Talking monotonously to your audience reduces your message’s impact because it’s not suited for building emotional connections.

Emotions are vital when interacting with others. They make us human. We more clearly remember stories when they appeal to our emotions.

Speak with emotion to engage your audience.

Be Confident

To make your audience believe you, believe in yourself first. Being confident means you’re well-prepared, passionate, and focused on delivering your message.

Remember that you know your material better than anybody else, so if you make a mistake that nobody else notices, don’t comment on it. Simply try to do better in the next part of your pitches.

Breathe from the Diaphragm

Most people use their upper chest for respiration since it doesn’t require deep breathing.

However, diaphragmatic breathing releases your tension and normalizes your condition. Taking a deep breath before speaking in public keeps you at ease because it removes panic-causing blood toxins from your body.

Practice deep breathing to manage your anxiety.


Even professional presenters get nervous when facing audiences. However, they pacify their anxiety with careful preparation and breathing with their diaphragm.

Keep these tips in mind and turn negative feelings into an advantage, giving you more confidence the next time you present.

To learn more about effective and powerful presentations, let the SlideGenius experts help you out!

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Marshall, Lisa B. “Use Nervous Energy to Your Advantage.” Quick and Dirty Tips. June 20, 2012. Accessed July 3, 2015.
Public Speaking Anxiety: Facts, Stats, and Methods to Beat It.” SlideGenius, Inc. June 11, 2014. Accessed July 3, 2015.