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Learning Portal - Study Skills : Presentation Anxiety

Presentation Anxiety

This module will help you learn how to manage presentation anxiety. It is common to feel nervous before a presentation. For some people, that nervousness can be overwhelming. Managing your nerves will help you deliver an effective presentation.

Top Tips

✓ Practice, practice, practice. The better you know your presentation, the more confidence you’ll feel.

Challenge unhelpful thoughts. Recognize negative self-talk that doesn’t have evidence to support it and replace it with positive self-talk.

✓ Don’t panic if you lose your place. Take a moment to breathe, focus, and find your spot. Your audience will be patient.

✓ Ask for help. If you feel overwhelmed by presentation anxiety, a counsellor could provide some strategies to help you overcome your nerves.

How to Overcome Presentation Anxiety

How to Manage Presentation Anxiety

Watch this video (The Learning Portal Ontario, 2019) or read the strategies below to learn some techniques to help with presentation anxiety, so that you can deliver your presentation confidently.


Strategies to Help You Manage Presentation Anxiety

  • Prepare: Being well prepared will help you feel more confident about your presentation

  • Recognize negative self-talk like “I’m going to fail” or “I’m going to look stupid” Challenge these unhelpful thoughts.  Do you really have any evidence to support them? Try some positive self-talk instead, like “I can do it”  or “I’m well prepared”

  • Develop a “Relaxation Strategy” to use when you feel too anxious.

  • Practice. The better you know your presentation, the more confident you’ll feel. Practicing in front of a mirror or a webcam is best because you can see how you’re doing.

  • Focus on your Message. You might tell someone climbing a ladder “don’t look down”. What you’re telling them is to focus on the task, not on their nervousness. The same advice applies to presentations. As you present, focus on your content instead of concentrating on yourself.

  • Look confident even if you don’t feel that way. Smile and keep breathing, look at people’s foreheads not their eyes, and stand naturally.

How to Avoid Common Presentation Problems

If you're nervous about delivering a presentation, you're probably worrying about all the things that can go wrong. If you prepare for those potential problems, you can prevent them from happening, and learn to deal with them if they do happen.

Complete the activity to learn how to avoid some common presentation problems. You can also use the tip sheet below as a quick reference when preparing for a presentation.


Avoiding Presentation Problems Tip Sheet


Unless otherwise stated, the material in this guide is from the Learning Portal created by College Libraries Ontario. Content has been adapted for the GPRC Learning Commons in June 2021. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY NC SA 4.0 International License.

All icons on these pages are from The Noun Project. See individual icons for creator attribution. 

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