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Why So Scared? Three Reasons Folks Freak Out About Giving Presentations [Infodoodle]

by Verónica Jarski  |  
January 22, 2013

Does the thought of talking in front of people or giving a virtual presentation freak you out? You're not alone. 85% of Americans shudder at the very thought of giving presentations, virtual or otherwise.

Now, you'd think that the anxiety would be less when giving a virtual presentation than giving one in front of a crowded room, but Matt Abrahams, presentations coach at Stanford University, says research shows that people are just as anxious about seeing the folks in their audience as not seeing the folks in their audience.

So, what's all the anxiety about? Abrahams then outlined the top three reasons why folks get all scared about presenting.

  • Situational anxiety: You see your presentation as a performance. You're so concerned about how you sound, how you move, how you are performing that you cannot relax and focus on what matters: your audience and its needs.

  • Audience-based: You freak out just by thinking who comprises your audience. The people who are watching you (or hearing  you) are folks whose good opinion you want... so you can't stop thinking about how much you want their good opinion.

  • Goal-based: Your thoughts are all about the outcome of the talk. You're not in the moment, where you should be.

To find out more about presentation fears and how to overcome them, I took visual sketch notes of a free MarketingProfs presentation by Matt Abrahams.

Want to learn more about giving presentations that inspire, inform, and persuade? Then check out our Presentations course at MarketingProfs University.

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Veronica Jarski is the Opinions editor and a senior writer at MarketingProfs. She can be reached at

Twitter: @Veronica_Jarski

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