How can I get over my nerves about presenting?

Help! I have just got a promotion that involves addressing large groups but public speaking terrifies me. Any tips?

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 20 Oct 2015

Q: I was recently promoted to brand manager. I'm delighted about the role but it involves public speaking, which fills me with the fear of God. Any tips on presenting to large audiences?

Jeremy says: The most important step you can take is the one you can take by the time you've finished reading this paragraph. You need to accept that the world is full of people who once felt as you feel but are now confidently (and sometimes overconfidently) addressing large audiences as an everyday matter of course. Your fear is not unusual; it can certainly be overcome. Thousands have already done so and it's not that difficult.

Then read. There are several worthwhile books on the subject, any of which you might find helpful. My advice is to read more than one: different people feel immediately comfortable with very different approaches - and it's well worth looking for the one that seems to make sense to you. Trying to force-fit yourself into techniques that don't seem intuitively right can do more harm than good.

The latest book worth reading on the subject I've come across is called It's Not What You Say, It's the Way You Say It by Michael Parker.

Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. Email him your problems at Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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