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.