Butterflies and Sweaty Palms

25 sure-fire ways to speak and present with confidence

By: Judy Apps


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 234mm x 156mm
Pages : 192
ISBN : 9781845907365
Format: Paperback
Published: February 2012

If you have ever carried a lucky talisman in your pocket to give yourself courage before a big event then carry this book instead. Based on Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), the ground-breaking solutions to performance anxiety in this book will carry you through the most daunting experience of public speaking.

The exercises are simple and highly effective. Even if you have suffered intolerably from performance nerves in the past this book will enable you to perform with passion and determination and wow your audience. How many times have you picked up a self-help book and thought “it’s all very well but it won’t work for me”? This time the book meets you where you are and helps you to succeed by approaching the problem on many different levels.

Judy inspires and encourages you with her descriptions and anecdotes. There are exercises that you can easily do at home and which are interesting and fun to do. The exercises are diverse so that issues are tackled in a variety of different ways. You can do the exercises either alone or with other people. The book is brief and easy to read, the techniques highly practical and the methods simple yet profound.

“A true empowerment tool which should get into the hands of many. It really cuts to the chase. It’s a clear explanation of why things happen rather than self help book. A new phenomenon.”

Short listed Best Achievement The People’s Book Prize

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Picture for author Judy Apps

Judy Apps

Judy Apps has spent many years unravelling the secrets of how great leaders inspire others, and now runs open creative programs and coaches leaders in major corporations in voice and communication.

Click here to read Judy Apps' blog.


  1. I saw this book on a book stand at the APHP conference and was attracted by its colourful cover. A quick flick, revealed an easy to read style - highlighted sections for case studies and troubleshooting tips, bullet points and cartoon-style graphics. Its user-friendly style allowed me to glean in a few moments that this is a book with a wealth of great tips and strategies for those nervous about presenting. Like many hypnotherapists, I regularly see clients with performance nerves and thought this book might be worth stocking at my therapy centre.
    This little book (a mere 136 pages) is divided into two parts, the first, entitled 'Exploring the Territory' deals with limiting beliefs and fears that an individual might be running. The second part, which forms the larger part of the book is named 'Confidence Strategies'. This is the 'how to' part of the book which covers a wealth of exercises from modelling to future pacing, breathing techniques to physical preparation and getting 'in the zone' to connecting with your audience and much, much more. It's difficult to do justice to the wide-ranging content of this book in a couple of paragraphs, so I would definitely recommend buying it to read as well as considering stocking it for customers to purchase.
    The approach and strategies in this book are definitely NLP, but in a very accessible and non-jargon way. As it's aimed at the public, rather than therapists, this is understandable, although the easy-read style makes it suitable for all. To consider 'Butterflies and Sweaty Palms' a purchase for the public only, is to ignore the valuable addition it could be to newly qualified therapists and students. This great little book could be a very useful manual on how to help clients who are fearful of public speaking or even for therapists who want to do demonstrations, talks, or teaching.
  2. For anyone who has to give talks and presentations then this is the book for you. Judy has a very easy to understand way of writing and she offers you some brilliant strategies for becoming a confident and assured communicator. Being someone who gives talks and presentations on a regular basis without any fear I have to say that this book certainly gave me some new tips and techniques to make my talks even better. This practical toolkit is easy to use and is so practical and down to earth. Whether it's a best mans speech or a business presentation, this book is essential.
  3. I loved this book. I started to read it when it arrived and could not put it down. It was interesting, informative and questioning. I will be using this with students who will be applying for interviews and delivering presentations.
  4. Butterflies and Sweaty Palms: 25 Sure-Fire Ways to Speak and Present with Confidence is dedicated -˜To all who have felt fearful before speaking'. So that's probably most of us, then.

    You will have guessed that the aim of the book is to help people overcome their fear of speaking in public, and to do this it takes a reassuringly methodical approach. Part I, which accounts for a little under one-quarter of the book examines the problem: the fear. Part II suggests 25 confidence strategies to help you overcome the fear.

    The first section is important because it will channel you into the right frame of mind before you start working on the strategies. It puts your fear into context and helps you to realise that there is no shame in having -˜butterflies and sweaty palms'; it's perfectly normal, and even the greatest actors experience it. You just need to deal with it in the right way (well there's more to it than that, of course, but that's the essence).

    So we move on to Part II, where the 25 strategies are divided into five separate themes: Use Your Imagination, Be Present, Come Alive, Let's Look at the Audience, and Be Yourself. The strategies suggest a variety of exercises for you to practise; some of the exercises are directly related to the public speaking scenario and can involve a certain amount of role play -” preparing your speech, mustering the courage to walk up to the podium, engaging with your audience and so on -” whilst others are more general exercises that you can practise at any time, such as breathing exercises and inward reflection.

    The page lay-out goes to some effort to hold your attention. You don't have to turn over many pages before you come to the next cheery line-drawing or diagram illustrating the topic that you're reading about. There are numerous paragraph headings to signpost where you've been and where you're going next. There are case studies. And there are armfuls of quotations, so many of them that I must confess I started to find them a tad intrusive, but that's just a personal view; to be fair, they are aptly chosen and I did come across at least one of my favourites, which by coincidence I was painfully reminded of very recently whilst working in Spain: “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito” (Betty Reese).

    To get back to the point and sum up: if you're struggling with your fear of public speaking, and you need someone to hold your hand and give you reassurance, advice and encouragement, Judy Apps' book was written for you.

    The author is a professional voice coach and trainer based in the UK's Home Counties, and runs workshops aimed at improving participants' communication skills and self-confidence.
  5. Apps, who runs open creative programs and coaches leaders in corporations in voice and communication, enumerates 25 ways speakers and presenters can overcome anxiety and perform well in public. She shows them how to gain the belief in themselves to speak confidently, and after addressing fear and failure, outlines the process for each strategy, with case studies, troubleshooting advice, and notes. Strategies include changing fear to excitement, imagining the goal, finding a good model, focusing externally, centering, breathing, finding a purpose and passion, making friends with the audience, creating a connection, connecting with the inner self, and trusting.
  6. THIS BOOK ON public speaking and presentations by Judy Apps reminded me of lyrics in The Sound of Music:
    "I simply remember my favorite things. And then I don't feel so bad." Apps advocates this mind-over-matter approach as an antidote to a fear that can reduce a speaker to a mass of quivering jelly or to robotically "controlling" their fear by talking with as much charisma as the speaking clock. She goes further by advising that the speaker converts fear into positive energy by remembering an acronym, Feel Energetic And Real.
    There are good, sound, practical solutions to overcoming the fear of speaking here. One is a set of exercises designed to rid the speaker of adrenaline. When someone is nervous this hormone "poisons" the system and affects clear thinking, Apps says. To clear it, the speaker should undertake "physical energy preparation" such as going for an energetic walk or run, jogging on the spot or jumping up and down, shaking their shoulders, and stretching in all directions.
    When discussing the psychological element of fear, Apps reminds us that "energy flows where attention goes." This can work for good or ill and she quotes from a research paper in the British Medical Journal (Delbaere K et al. 2010; 34Lc4165) which found that old people who are anxious about falling and think about falling are statistically more likely to fall.
    To emphasise this, Apps gives the example of a consultant who was nervous about giving presentations and who was asked, at short notice, to facilitate a discussion on improving communication. She briefly thought about the issues, spoke to them for around 45 minutes and was very well received. Later, Apps congratulated her saying that what she had done was indeed presenting, to which she replied: "What do you mean that was presenting? I don't do presenting. I was just talking to the group about their issue." Apps responded: "Exactly; it's called presenting
  7. If there's one thing that every teacher knows, it's how to address an audience - so a book filled with advice for overcoming nerves and maximising effectiveness when speaking in public is probably the last thing that a professional educator needs, right? Wrong - of course. Even the most experienced pedagogue can experience moments of insecurity and discomfort in the classroom (not to mention disruption and disengagement); and so this handy and accessible package of practical tips on everything from capturing the attention of a group caught in the post-lunch energy slump, to dealing with heckling without losing control of the floor is certainly one to consider adding to your shelves. It's easy to read, with plenty of anecdotes and inspiring quotes - but these support solid strategies that can certainly be practised and put into action in the classroom.

  8. I had the pleasure of doing a short training course run by Judy Apps in 2005, called -˜Beyond Presentation Skills' and was intrigued when I found out she was producing a book covering similar ground.

    The starting point of the book is that speaking in public is more than just knowing what to do. It's about dealing with the fear which so many of us experience when we have to be out there to communicate with others. She cites many well known people who continually experience stage fright (Spingsteen, Streisand, Stephen Fry-¦) and reminds us that fear is there to keep us safe, with a quote from M.Scott Peck: “Absence of fear is not courage, but some kind of brain damage”.

    She gives ways for us, through visualisation, to generalise our successes rather than our failures, and stresses the need to “be happy with imperfection, then you'll create something excellent.” For great performers, she says, there is no such thing as the perfect performance, as each one is just different.

    If we work out what we think success will look, feel and sound like, then we have more chance of achieving that success. She gives different ways of doing this. For example, creating a mental movie with the sound and feel of success (enthusiastic audience questions, lively exchanges of information and ideas), or imagining yourself into the style of a good role model who is successful in what you want to do. So -” put yourself in the shoes of the best communicator you know and learn to do what they do! You could end up applying a comedian's skills to a work presentation context, or those of a highly respected actor in a session with a volunteer group or your local BCT group-¦. Another option would be to transfer your own confidence and ability to engage an audience from one context (as a musical performer or singer or someone who finds it easy to engage friends with a few anecdotes) into a professional or more formal one-¦..

    The writer gives strategies for getting in the flow or in -˜the zone' by getting yourself centred or grounded, raising energy levels, and transforming fear or nervousness into excitement (they are very similar already). She takes the reader through ways to engage the power of the breath, a sense of purpose and passion, and of engaging with an audience before starting to speak. Tuning into the mood of an audience and starting with similar energy levels (pacing them) can make a big impact and allow you then to draw them into your subject and the energy level you want to hit.

    Judy Apps concludes this book with an exercise of self coaching, in which the reader is asked to imagines a future event or activity, and then go in to experience it as the presenter/communicator. Then after shaking off that experience and persona, moving into the place of the audience to see how the presenter is performing. The next position is that of an observer/coach who can see the interaction and what can be improved. Finally the new perspectives and learning are brought back to the presenter's position to give new ways of performing.

    She ends the book by saying the important thing is to entertain yourself, try out different characters, moods and actions, giving yourself choices. The book is somewhere between a toy box and a tool kit, so if you feel like getting together with some BCT friends to experiment with ways to present in new ways, it's a good way to start! If it catches on, then doubtless Judy would be delighted to do more workshops in Brussels in the future.
  9. Speaking in public in front of a group can be the loneliest of jobs. If the idea of talking to a group is a problem for you, this is where Judy Apps' book finds its place as an essential resource for becoming a presenter of professional quality. Not only does she give you practical advice on what to do and how to do it, but you also get useful -˜troubleshooting guides' -” which cover possible negative responses to the suggestions.

    Having covered the essential points about techniques and how to become more confident, Judy Apps concludes the book by addressing the key factor in any presentation: how to -˜be yourself'? Remember this quote from Walt Kelly, author of the Pogo comic strip: “We have met the enemy and he is us,” Many speakers actually get in the way of -˜being themselves'. Sure, you need to have all your knowledge and skills up and running -” but these have to be already deeply assimilated within you. If your -˜techniques' are superficial or unpractised, they'll simply be getting in the way of you giving of your best.

    The thing about presenting is that you have no excuses -” you can't blame others for how you are; there's no such thing as a -˜bad audience'. It's a time to be honest with yourself, and the more honest you are the better the audience will like you and what you have to say. Good presenters speak with enthusiasm about what fascinates them. If what you are talking about is boring for you, then it's going to be even more boring for others. Your audience will most likely stop trying to make sense of what you are saying, and drift off, following associations in their own minds.

    Judy suggests that you should lighten up, play more, and not take yourself too seriously. You're not going to be -˜perfect'. Don't think of it as -˜making mistakes' but as being creative in the way you handle the unexpected. That's the kind of thing audiences appreciate: seeing you in command of the situation. And when you have assimilated all the tricks of the trade, you'll be more in touch with your own playful self.

    If you want to know about play and passion, read between the lines of Judy Apps' book. This book is brimful of enthusiasm, her ideas are well presented, and the illustrations by her talented daughter Rosie are a delight.

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was fun, easy to read, and very practical.
    It is one of the few books (as Judy says in her introduction) that you can actually read from beginning to end, or browse through.
    The case studies and tales are particularly enlightening especially the tale of The Fly on page 8, which reminds us of the need to change our strategy, look for the -˜gaping light' and try something different. This book will not only show you how to find the gaping light but it will also give you the confidence you need, to do something different.
    Throughout the book Judy shares with us the words of famous people; Albert Einstein, Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou to name a few. Their quotes are snappy and memorable;

    "It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult." Seneca

    Reading Butterflies and Sweaty Palms is like having your own coach in the room with you. Judy has the ability to walk in your shoes and almost read your mind.

    An amazing read and must have book. You'll discover something new every time you read it!

  11. Reviewed by Christopher Miller Passwordgear
    I have just been teaching two of my children some memory techniques for them to learn speeches for their school public speaking. As we walked round the house, turning it into a memory palace, they entirely forgot to be nervous about speaking, and they both did really well when they got to school.
    But for so many people, speaking with confidence seems impossible; and that's why Judy Apps' latest book: Butterflies and Sweaty Palms is so relevant and useful. Judy has a brand of coaching that I like to think of as “gentle judo for the soul”. Let me explain that.
    Judy says that fear is very similar to excitement, and it can actually be converted to excitement-¦ which brings enormous benefits to the presenter. When you are enthusiastic about something, the audience tends to follow you. So here Judy is able to use the momentum of something negative, and use it to positive effect. Just like judo. But her approach is very gentle.
    She also draws heavily on Eckhart Tolle's suggestion that you remain in the present. This means that you should ignore worries about what could go wrong in the future, or memories of what went wrong in the past. Just be yourself, as you are. Now.
    For anyone who hasn't heard of Eckhart, he is a best-selling spiritualist author, having written The Power of Now and A New Earth, between them selling over 8 million copies. He has captivated many millions more in live webinars, and regularly addresses thousands of people at live events. He is a phenomenon. Quietly spoken and calm, he is the last person on earth you would expect to get nervous.
    Judy's John Cleese anecdote really amused me. Cleese is one of those unmistakeable people that when he does something you can't imagine it ever being different. That Dead Parrot sketch, amongst many others is set in the collective concrete of our minds. But Judy has first-hand experience of how playful and innovative he can be, never producing the same performance twice.
    Butterflies and Sweaty Palms has many resources to help banish the presentation stresses, but the truth is that you might only need one or two of them to be able to speak and present with the same poise and confidence whether you are talking with a few old friends or with 1,000 new friends. Read the book to find the techniques that suit you best.
  12. Butterflies and Sweaty Palms

    This brilliant little book provides super strategies for overcoming everyone's number one fear: public speaking! Let Judy Apps guide you with ease through great examples, stories and exercises to become a confident communicator.
    Arielle Essex, author of Compassionate Coaching

  13. Butterflies and Sweaty Palms
    This is a -˜must buy' book for all of us with presentation nerves which, let's face it, is most of us. Judy has an uncanny knack of putting herself in the reader's shoes and I felt she was reading my mind! It's an easy and engaging read packed with true stories about how famous people deal with nerves. Amidst the real-life examples and rich variety of practical, down to earth tips, readers will find that Judy understands their thoughts and has some real gems to dispel concerns, nerves and abject fear. No matter how bad things may seem this invaluable little book will give you all the tools you need to become a confident and engaging speaker.

    Carol Newland, NLP Coach and Trainer

  14. I remember those butterflies and yes, those sweaty palms as well. My brother seemed to just do it naturally, but I couldn't, and many failures proved to me that I couldn't. Over the years, that has changed, so I know that a change is possible. What is remarkable about Judy's approach is that it would have saved me so much agony and so many failures along the way had I had her tools and advice with me through those many years.
    Now I am able to comfortably speak in front of big groups and get results, so I know what had to change in me in order to become a confident speaker. And for every change I had to make the hard way, Judy gives you a practical, and more importantly an easy to understand toolkit that will get you up and confident in front of a group in a much quicker time than you ever thought possible.
    The people who get things done, the people that make a difference, the people who others look to for leadership are great communicators. They can share their passion and ideas with any group, large or small. So if you want to be a leader rather than a listener, get good at communicating with groups of people. I can't think of a better place to start than Judy's book.

    Paul Matthews, Managing Director, People Alchemy Ltd
  15. Judy Apps' aptly-named new book Butterflies and Sweaty Palms hits exactly the right note for anyone who has ever experienced that sick feeling in the stomach when faced with a presentation to give. At the same time, she has a wealth of knowledge that would make the most confident presenter consider how to connect more authentically with their audience and bring even the driest after-lunch conference slot alive.
    From the outset she inspires confidence and builds on her own strong track record of working with hundreds of clients to develop their ability to speak in public. No-one need ever feel alone again with this daunting task once armed with the book. It's particularly re-assuring to see the evidence that so many of the best-trained professional performers experience fear and to hear that nerves bear little relation to talent.
    So too, I particularly like her suggestions that -˜perfection is a curse'. Trying to get it -˜right' is a sure way to fail, and being happy with imperfection offers the freedom to structure and deliver an excellent talk. She says: -˜For great performers there is no such thing as the perfect performance -¦ each one is the way it is.' That really takes the pressure off us all.
    This theme of trust and acceptance of oneself is a central theme that I embrace. In the book, Judy outlines 25 practical strategies of which my favourite is the final one -˜Trust'. When we step into trusting ourselves we share our essential humanness and that's what it's about. I also loved the concept of -˜galumphing' or playing about with the presentation to entertain and connect with the audience through simply having fun.
    Judy has admirably achieved what she set out to do by inspiring courage, hope and practical help with heaps of easy to read ideas, real-life examples and fun illustrations. I love the elegance, accessibility and clarity of this book and shall certainly be recommending it to clients and colleagues alike.
    Kate Burton, coach and author of Live Life. Love Work and -˜For Dummies' guides to NLP, coaching and confidence.
  16. Butterflies and Sweaty Palms

    Judy has a natural skill for empathising with the reader through her words. Butterflies and Sweaty Palms is very well organised into two sections, and I found both to be equally beneficial. Part one introduces and explains the tools in a clear, concise and easy to understand style and part two (which makes up most of the book) gives clearly laid out and detailed strategies for overcoming performance related fears. Part two, especially, has become my reference guide to dip in and out of whenever needed! Thank you, Judy, for a well structured and practical guide for presenting with confidence.
    Karen Moxom, Managing Director of the Association for NLP

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