The Business Coach with Laura Murphy: “Presentations scare me...”

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Question: “I have to do a five minute powerpoint presentation and I hate doing presentations, they scare me. I can’t get out of it. Help!” Richard.

Answer: “I’ve heard this so many times - I’m no good at... I hate doing... Unsurprisingly, if you think like that, you will act like that. So let’s split this into two sections.

Firstly there are some basic rules in constructing a presentation. 1) know who you’re talking to and what outcomes are expected; nothing different from any other meeting so that’s easy. 2) Have a slide every 2.5 minutes, so you only need two slides; again that’s easy isn’t it? 3) Slides should be a tag for your talk (a picture or diagram perhaps) so that people focus on your message; again, that’s easy isn’t it?

90% of a successful presentation is preparation so know your topic, and the story you are going to tell, inside out so you can focus on the second stage, preparing yourself.

What scares you? Fear of being found out? Knowing your topic intimately means there’s nothing to find out. Stage fright? Nerves are good as that gives your presentation verve so welcome them. Scared of something going wrong? Picture yourself doing the presentation successfully with people coming up to you afterwards congratulating you on it. Rehearse the sense of achievement and confidence that arises from doing this well. Do that time and time again and as you do, touch your collar, or tie so you’re anchoring your success. On the day, just before you’re due to start, touch the same collar or tie again to spark the muscle memory and you’ll find that you fly through it. ”


Laura Murphy is the founder of mtc2 ltd, a management consultancy, training and coaching company. Laura is an organisation development specialist and business coach. If you have a problem then contact her at

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Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.