How to get comfortable with presenting

How to present well in public is probably one of the most googled questions out there. And let’s face it, presenting in front of an audience (be it bigger or smaller) can be nerve-wracking. Okay, let me correct it, it is nerve-wracking – at least for most people. Add to that the fact that you might be an introvert and it can easily feel like the worst thing that you need to do ever. And to be fair, there is a lot of literature out there that covers tips on how to be a better presenter or how to get more comfortable with presenting, but I often find this kind of tips not too helpful and I find myself looking for real stories where others share their real experiences. That’s why today’s post is focused on sharing my experience with presenting to an audience, what are my learnings on my journey to get more comfortable with it and also what tips I have in order to learn how to get comfortable with it.

So, let me start with a very personal note; presenting is probably the one thing that in my head really puts a toll on my confidence at work – or at least that’s what I thought. And I have a few reasons for that: I am a person of very few words in general, I don’t really like flowery conversation with lots of words – when at work –  and I often find myself either losing my mind (internally) or simply ending up (tactfully) cutting people when it goes into that direction. So when it comes to putting together words for presenting I am always wondering where will I get the words from. Additionally, I have very fair and transparent skin so my cheeks immediately blush when I am nervous. As soon as I get conscious about that it only escalates and I feel more uncomfortable. As an effect/ independently of being nervous my voice tends to break after speaking loudly for a long time and that definitely adds up to the nervousness. So, as you can see this “starter pack” of mine is no where close to “good material” when it comes to presenting.

Knowing that I am not a “natural” presenter, I spent quite some time reading tips and tricks and watching TED talks and the likes. But to be honest I think nothing really helps much unless you actually do it and think it through and then do it again. In university I would of course have a lot of presentations and even though I would get nervous about the idea of presenting in front of 100 other students, knowing that everyone will have their turn presenting brought some comfort. Also, with the grade in mind I would always do my best to prepare and rehearse to make sure I am fully prepared, even if I am not a natural. So in the end, all my presentations went really well and by the end of the studies I was quite comfortable with presenting in front of the full classroom.

Still, when it was time to present something at work in front of colleagues, that felt like quite a different challenge and felt like the nerves were even bigger then in university times. Recently, I had to hold my own presentations at work for a couple of times, sharing some best practices or some specific client situations and experiences with “bigger crowds” of colleagues. The idea of presenting in front of 20-30 or even more colleagues felt quite scary. And to my surprise, the presentations went very well, and the feedback received afterwards was very good as well. The most surprising part I would say is that I even enjoyed them if I am honest.


Here and here you can check out some advice and tips on how to present well and get better at it, and with a simple Google search you will find tons of advice. From my experience, the best tips I can think of are:

Be prepared (with a script) – and with this I mean prepare what you are going to say in advance and draft yourself a script. If you find you are having trouble in finding the right words, rehearse that as well and write it down in your script. If you feel like you need it even consider presenting out loud at home and even in front of a mirror. This way you will get a better feeling for the wording you want to use so that it not only sounds natural but also it is well articulated.

Be familiar with the content – this one is very much in line with the first tip it does have to do with preparing well. But above all and if possible, if you can present your own experiences it will always feel better and come more naturally to you. This is something that has definitely helped me, presenting my own experiences or approaches.

Show up your best – get yourself comfortable with the idea that you have to present and dress the part such that you can feel both comfortable and confident. Knowing that you are projecting a strong image will always give you a boost.

Body language – watch your body language when presenting: no crossed legs/arms or weird faces nor any overly distracting gesture. I think to master this one you need to first of all know the few basic rules of good body language and then trying to be aware of your body while presenting. For me this tip is heavily linked to the first one. If you are prepared for your presentation and know the flow, you will be able to think about your body language while presenting and correct it, instead of thinking which your next words have to be.

Bottom line is that presenting is an essential skill throughout your career no matter the industry. So as early as possible, take as many opportunities to present as possible, be prepared and try to enjoy them. Don’t be afraid if you think you have nothing to share, what you have to say is important and even if it might not be relevant to the whole audience, as long as you help at least 1-2 people with your words, it will make a difference.


I hope my experience and tips will help you and if you want to share your own experiences or what that helped you, please comment below!


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