Michael Gibson
5 min readJul 6, 2021


It was a peaceful scene. My wife and I were sitting at a picnic table overlooking a valley. It was day two at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. We were resting after our hike and our encounter with Ruger, The Guardian Goat Dog. We smiled about the memory, it was a nice moment. So quiet. So beautiful.

And then there was a rumbling behind us. We turned just in time to see horses running down the hill toward us. At first, it was scary. We were on a grassy knoll; the tree line was too far away to find shelter there.

And then we realized that the picnic table was a big enough obstacle. If we just stayed still, we would be fine. And then it became fun. We were like an island in a river. Safe if we stayed in place.

Four horses came by, and then I reached for my phone to capture the next wave of horses. They came by and were soon on a lower level of the valley. The horses came, they passed, they left. And the experience became a memory.

Do not let fear trample you. Harness the stress. Photo by Florin Beudean on Unsplash;

At Big Presentations, many of our students are not trained speakers. They are accountants, engineers, supervisors, and small business owners. And occasionally, there is a need for them to step up and share information or sell an idea.

When those times come, it can feel a little like my experience with the horses. The peace is shattered by a need to speak.

How can you face that stress in healthy ways? Here are three ideas.


First, remember that the stress is temporary. Perhaps a familiar quote comes to mind when you read this.

“This, too, shall pass.” (Persian Adage and fun song by OK Go)

When contemplating an upcoming presentation, it helps to step past it and look back at it.

Sometimes I talk to myself. Really. I speak aloud to myself and say things like, “In two days, I will be looking back on this presentation.”

This reminds me that the stress is temporary. It creates positive anticipation.

If the presentation goes well, I will be pleased and relaxed in that reality.

Michael Gibson

Michael Gibson is a speaker, trainer, and instructional designer. His book, Big Presentations in Small Rooms, is available at Amazon.