Presentation Nerves:

What my dog taught me

Strolling through the park one day...

I was recently walking my mischievous, yet lovable and anxious mutt, Pups, on a long stretch of green grass and open space. As I often do, I was daydreaming as we walked.

Pups, as usual, got frightened by harmless environmental sounds: a car trunk closing, a bicycle passing by, even a child laughing. He’d freeze and pull back or stick his tail under his legs. All par for the course. But this time, after hearing a car door slam, he yanked so hard away from me that his collar instantly slid off his neck. 


We both froze and stared at each other.

My first thought was that Pups, now collarless, might run into the street. His first thought seemed to be of a different nature:


I’m outta here!

Pups the Petrified transformed into Pups the Daredevil as he started to run off to the other end of the park. He feared nothing. Pups ran in circles, rolled on the grass and ran further away. At times he’d look back at me, almost as if to say, “You can’t catch me.”

Of course, while he was embracing his new-found freedom, I was worrying about his safety. I reached into my pocket to call my wife for help only to discover that I’d forgotten my phone!

The great chase

I ran after Pups on the green field — about the length of a long block. The words, “I’m going to kill him” ran in my mind. Just when I reached him, he dashed back to the other end.

This time I took on a different strategy. I walked calmly, towards him. When I got close enough to put his leash on, the little bugger ran further away.

When he neared the sidewalk he stopped and looked at me. It was as though he wondered, “Aren’t you going to chase me?” He just stood there waiting for me — only to move onto the sidewalk.

Pups was now close to the road. I panicked.


I stopped a stranger to ask him for his phone to call my wife. While on her way, Pups saw me more relaxed (knowing help was on the way) and calmly walked over to me, as if he hadn’t just given me a series of heart attacks! I put the collar on him and we walked home. All was forgiven.

Pups and presentations

This incident made me think about the fear that arises in most people when they give a presentation. Like Pups, who gets frightened by harmless environmental sounds, people get frightened by having a large number of harmless eyes looking at them as they stand in front of a room.

Yet, no audience ever wants to see their presenter fail; no audience ever wants to dislike their presenter. Even your toughest audience wants you to succeed.

When Pups became untethered, he moved from feeling fear to feeling free. Free to be a dog who loves to run and play in an open field. Free to be a Daredevil, running away boldly and playfully from his owner despite the noises he just feared. And just like a good presenter would with an audience, Pups took me away from my thoughts and onto a journey. And I followed him the entire way.

When you unleash yourself and own who you are during your presentation, you take your audience on your journey. And unlike how I felt about Pups, your audience will love you for it.

Want to learn how you can become a presentation daredevil and feel like you’re running unleashed in the park? Let’s chat.