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Leadership Communication Training: How to Manage Your Nerves Before a Big Presentation

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

by Stephanie Bickel

Leadership Communication Training

You’re about to speak before a group of people who intimidate you. You’ve already forgotten what you want to say. Your stomach is in knots. You wonder why you agreed to do this. Your shoes are too tight.

Yes, we’ve all been there, but some people manage not to show it. Or perhaps to have overcome it. Or perhaps, just perhaps, they have figured out how to enjoy it? To use it? Believe it or not, it is possible to manage our fears so that our nerves turn into excitement and our self-doubt evolves into determination. Leadership communication training is the key! Here are some ideas for not just calming our fears, but for putting them to work on our behalf.

9 Leadership Communication Training Tips:

  1. Go meet the people in the audience. Greet some old friends. Make some new friends.

  2. Do a very wild, noisy vocal warm up (Scream even).

  3. Meditate. Focus on the moment.

  4. Take a deep breath and smile.

  5. Recognize that everyone wants to listen to a great talk and see you do well.

  6. Remind yourself of 5 things you are grateful for.

  7. Ask for a quiet space to be by yourself.

  8. Know what you need - 20 minutes of mingling or 20 minutes of quiet.

  9. Practice in front of as many people as possible: even toddlers.

If you are speaking at a different location than your office, ask the venue:

  1. Will there be a confidence monitor? (This shows your current slide and the next one; only you can see it.)

  2. Will there be a teleprompter?

  3. What if I go too long?

  4. What kind of microphone will I use?

  5. When can I practice on stage, with equipment?

  6. What if the topic/speaker before me is a downer? (Your jokes will be funnier!)

Finally, remind yourself why you are the right person to be giving this talk to this audience. If you prepare yourself for what lies ahead, visualize a positive outcome, and believe in the value you bring, you are sure to succeed— and maybe even have some fun!


Great leaders and speakers start with Speak by Design. Learn the techniques and build the skills with us. Speak by Design University is the only leadership communication program in the world that gives you access to self-paced learning, group coaching and training and, most importantly, private one-on-one coaching. Learn more and register.


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