A Pre-Presentation Pep Talk

WRITTEN May 4, 2017 Author: Jen Glantz

Right before it’s your turn to give a speech, you may be tempted to squeeze in one more practice run of you presentation. You might find yourself reading through notecards, scrolling through your PowerPoint slides, or rehearsing out loud in front of the mirror.

The best pre-presentation task you can do? Give yourself a presentation pep talk.

Here are the four things to do before you head on stage, or in front of the room, and give a presentation.

  1. Visualize Success

It can be easy to let your nerves get the best of you. When they do, you might start to think negative thoughts.

  • “I’m going to fail.”
  • “This is going to be awful.”
  • “I can’t do this.”

Instead of visualizing a negative outcome, visualize success. Say these things out loud to yourself:

  • “I have experience and subject matter knowledge.”
  • “I am well-prepared for this.”
  • “The audience is friendly. They want me to succeed.”
  • “I have been successful before at giving speeches. I will do well this time, also.”
  1. Be Realistic

It’s okay to be nervous. If you have a tendency to shake, sweat, or swerve your body back and forth when you are presenting, make yourself aware of those tendency. Then, before you begin your presentation, remind yourself that you may do and feel those things when speaking. That way, it won’t be shocking to you when you feel the nervous side effects kick-in. They will go away quicker when you expect them to possibly happen.

  1. Speak Your Personal Mantra

As you are practicing for your presentation, create a personal mantra. This can be a sentence or two you repeat to yourself, in your head or out loud, to get in the “zone”.

Here is an example of a personal mantra:

“I am confident enough in my material and myself to make this presentation effective and engaging.”


  1. Use a Breathing Sequence

Deep breathing is powerful. Before your presentation, take a series of deep breaths to restore and reset your body. You will feel calm, prepared, and more focused.

People psyche themselves out with nervousness before they speak. The anxiety is so much, that it can push them into negativity and have a detrimental effect on the presentation. Stress interferes with true ability. Use these four techniques to overcome the emotion of fear and be more in control when you speak.

This information is from our Public Speaking curriculum. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.

Photo by Ishwalia on Flickr

Other Resources:

Before Public Speaking… (Playlist of TED talks.)

Stay Connected

Subscribe to the IC weekly newsletter for tips and advice on your communication skills!

Public Classes

Effective communication is empowering. Get started on your path to being more clear, brief, and effective.

Upcoming Classes