How Presenters Make Themselves Nauseous

17 Jul 2013

How Presenters Make Themselves Nauseous

My thoughts made me nauseous

I looked at the feijoa fruit sitting in the bowl. My stomach turned over. My pulse started racing and I felt the colour drain out of my cheeks. Saliva welled up in my mouth. I felt so bad I had to look away. All this from looking at feijoas? Well, yes … and no.

How Presenters Make Themselves Nauseous


You see it wasn’t really the feijoas that made me nauseous, it was the thoughts I was having. I love feijoas so much that I’d overindulged earlier in the week, to the point I’d been ill. When I saw the feijoas in the bowl I remembered that event, and all the queasy feelings came back. Once I stopped the sickly thoughts, I felt fine.

Sickly thoughts make presenters nauseous too

Many presenters have incredibly irrational thoughts about presenting. This is how presenters make themselves nauseous — and nervous to boot!

These are some of the common beliefs I’ve heard:

  • “I’ve been told if I don’t get nervous then I won’t do a good presentation.”
  • “Well, everyone gets nervous, don’t they?”
  • “It’s natural to be nervous – it gives you the adrenalin to make your presentation stand out.”
  • “If you’re not nervous, there’s something wrong!”
My response?

Well, um, actually, I can’t really print my response! But it’s that stuff that comes out of the back-end of male cattle. All those beliefs are about as daft as thinking that trees make the wind blow!

The only thing that can make you nervous is what you put in your mind

So if you make horror movies of everything going wrong with your presentation or fill your head with ridiculous beliefs, of course you’ll feel nervous.

What the difference between nervousness and excitement?

For most people nervousness is felt in the upper or lower stomach. Excitement is also felt in the upper or lower stomach. Huh? Yes, the feelings of nervousness or excitement are felt in the same place! So how do you tell the difference? Sometimes the only difference is the label you ascribe to the feeling. Even changing the label can lead to a clearer head. How excited could you get prior to your presentation?

Nervousness isn’t a prerequisite to making a great presentationPresentations That Rock… engage and wow your audience — and avoid death by bullet point! - By Stephanie Philp

Being nervous is a choice. But if you still think you need to be nervous to be a good presenter — go for your life! Why not do it in style? Adopt all the negative beliefs about presenting mentioned earlier – and any others you can dream up. Try some of the beliefs in this article about presenting. Make the horror movie in your head, cinema size – and in full colour.

Add plenty of blood and guts – if you’re not doing this already! Throw in some ‘Jaws’ music, in surround sound – just to add a bit more terror. Are you feeling the nerves now? Have you made yourself nervous enough that you want to throw up?

OK then — off you go and present!