SecondNature Presentation Skills FAQ


SecondNature are the UK’s Business Presentation Skills Experts! We’re a specialist corporate training and coaching consultancy working exclusively with businesspeople to transform their business presentation skills and help them to achieve business pitching success.

We’ve been in business for 15 years, and before that we were senior business executives ourselves so there’s not a lot we don’t know about presenting! We work with an A-Z of blue-chip clients in almost every industry sector, have a revolutionary methodology, run only in-house courses and have an approach that sees everyone as an individual, offering the most authentic and powerful presentation skills development path for each person.

For more details check out 10 reasons to choose SecondNature.

SecondNature was born to change the old-fashioned paradigm of highly prescriptive, ‘cookie-cutter’ presentation skills training for business people.

We are not trying to help people become performers or actors because we think that is effectively forcing a presenter to be someone they’re not. We believe everyone should be able to develop a presentation style that suits their own, very unique, personality and one which feels comfortable and genuine enough to transfer from the workshop to the workplace.

If you’d like to know more, take a quick read of Our Approach.

When developing business executives’ presentation skills we work carefully with people’s natural personality & communication style and personalise the coaching for the individual. We do not adopt a one-size-fits-all method. This ensures people retain their authenticity as presenters.

Our approach to coaching leaves people with skills that suit them as individuals, and skills with which they are very comfortable. So, therefore, these skills quickly become a habit, or ‘second nature’, to people. And that’s why we are called SecondNature!

SecondNature’s business-experienced senior coaches provide world-class expertise, tailored and personalised to every business and individual.

Our presentation skills training is designed and delivered by executives, for executives

We work with you on your real-life presentations, include an enormous amount of practise in our workshops and record your practical sessions. We’ll help you plan your presentation with a destination in mind, think about your audience so you engage them and give them what they need to hear, structure your message so you get your point across, make your delivery clear, persuasive and impactful, show you techniques to overcome your nerves, give you ways to answer questions and help you to let your personality shine through!

Check out our blog on this very question here.

Absolutely! We offer a number of different introductory, intermediate and advanced-level presentation skills training and coaching programmes. Delivered either in-person or online. And for groups or individuals. We also offer two special-purpose training/coaching programmes - specialist pitch presentation skills training, and specialist conference/event public speaking coaching.

99% of our in-person programmes are delivered on-site, at your offices, in your boardroom or large meeting room. We can also come to off-sites that you have arranged, like conference venues, or rented meeting spaces.

And, of course, all our online programmes are run remotely/virtually through Zoom, Teams or any other video-calling platform that is most convenient for your team.

No. We exclusively run private, in-house, workshops for corporate clients. Business presentation skills training is most powerful and transformative when participants work on the planning, structuring and delivery of their own real business presentations. As these often contain very commercially sensitive content they are not possible to share in a public/open workshop situation.

Find out more at the bottom of this page on our website: dedicated in-house programmes

All SecondNature coaches have been senior business people prior to becoming an accredited SecondNature coach. We demand this so that as well as being expert coaches our team have had many years hands-on experience of delivering high-stakes business presentations themselves, so they are consummately aware of all the situations our clients face when delivering presentations.

Our coaches are not career trainers or actors, all of whom have no real commercial business experience and cannot, therefore, stand in the shoes of the people they are coaching. There is no substitute for our coaches’ business experience.

Check out our team here.

All SecondNature coaches have degrees in business, or a related subject and have many, many years of working experience in the business world as regional sales managers, in general management, as marketing managers, as business journalists or as senior executives in the world of advertising. So we know the corporate world. We have been there. Lived in it. Experienced what you/your people have, and delivered the types of presentations you/your people deliver.

It takes 3 months of intensive training to become a SecondNature subject matter expert and then another 3 months for a consultant to establish themselves an accomplished, professional coach. But, as befits a training organisation, we believe no one ever stops learning, and we are always sharing new ways of doing things with each other.

We work with all sorts of clients. From multinationals to large corporates, medium businesses, to Government and Not-for-profit organisations, and with SMEs who are leaders in their field and have ambitions to become bigger!!

You can check out some of our clients here.

Within an organisation we work with all levels and roles, from C-suite executives and Senior Leadership Teams, to Subject Matter Experts, line managers, those in operational roles and graduates.

With our great range of courses, we are confident you can find a course that suits perfectly.

We work with an A-Z of blue-chip multinational organisations across almost every sector from Automotive to IT, from Media/Marketing to Food/Retail, from Financial Services to Government, from Pharmaceutical/Medical to Energy/Resources, and from Construction/Property to Education. And many more.

We run training all across the globe, from two offices in the UK and Australia we have delivered training in 2020 to people in over 30 different countries including: Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Philippines, Malawi, Malaysia, Netherlands, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the US and Vietnam.


Presentation skills are skills learnt to help people communicate their message/ argument/ recommendation/ point of view/ story/ report or proposal in a more confident, impactful, compelling way.

Presentation skills are essential for business people of all levels – whether they are presenting one-to-one / to small groups or to larger, often more formal, audiences.

To improve your professional presenting skills you must develop your ability in three areas: 1) to effectively plan your presentation, 2) then to powerfully structure it, 3) and finally to persuasively deliver your presentation.

If you have the right coaching and build your capability and then practice sufficiently, these skills will become a habit, or second nature!

Check out our top tips on how to improve your presentation skills here.

Business is conducted by people. And every person in business needs to communicate.

Improving your presentation skills will mean you get your and your organisation’s message across in a clear, concise and compelling way so that your audience will pay you and it attention - maximising your opportunity to persuade and influence your customers/stakeholders to get the results that you and your organisation want.

SecondNature specialises solely in business presentation skills courses, with a suite of tailored and personalised programmes including:

Present Inspire
Present to Persuade and Influence

Present With Confidence
Present Online With Impact/Confidence
Presenting Online Fastclass

Presenting Essentials

Presenting For Applause (conferences and events)

Large Group
Presenting Skills Masterclass

Presentation Writing
Presentation Writing Essentials

We do! In both our in-person and online business presentation skills programmes we record participants presenting, and depending upon the programme sometimes each individual will have their presentations recorded multiple times.

We never ask anyone to playback their recording in front of their colleagues, but to review their own video by themselves after the sessions.

Absolutely! In fact, this is a fundamental part of all of our business presentation skills training/coaching programmes. Depending upon the programme, we ask participants to bring along one of their own presentations that they have recently delivered, or are going to deliver shortly. We will then guide them through improving this actual presentation’s structure and their delivery of it throughout the course.

This is a key and core component of all our in-person and online presentation skills courses as working on presentations the participants deliver in their actual roles make our programmes very real and provide real business-related benefits.

We offer a comprehensive package of pre- and post-workshop support. From pre-workshop initial participant questionnaires that provide details about each participant’s presenting experience (so we can personalise the programme for them), to post-workshop lifetime access to our Performance Support Centre, a suite of remind, refresh, reinforce emails to complimentary remote coaching.

Yes we do. For every programme we run, whether online or in-person, each participant has complimentary post-workshop remote coaching via video-call, phone, or email for between 30-90 days after the programme.

We have a programme to suit everyone, and every group in business – from introductory, intermediate and advanced, to online or in-person, and also for special purposes like speaking at a conference or making a pitch presentation.

The best way to discover the programme that will be most beneficial and transformative for you or your people is to give us a call, and talk to one of our Senior Coaches. 0330 113 6222.

Yes, of course, we’d be delighted to offer your NFP a discount. Please just give us a call on 0330 113 6222.


Online presentation training is coaching or training that is delivered online, remotely via video over Zoom or Teams for example. It can be explicitly designed just to help people understand how to present online, or it can be designed to help people present in both online and face-to-face situations – using techniques that are applicable to both circumstances, plus specifics that apply to each situation.

Online presentation training can come in the form of pre-recorded ‘e-learning’ videos. But generally, the quality of the content in these is extremely poor! And obviously, there is no live coaching at all, so the content is very general, basic and completely prescriptive.

So, instead, what you should look for, if you are serious about improving your business presentation skills, is live coaching/training tailored to be delivered in the virtual environment that is led by a coach (sometimes called VILT). It should be specifically designed to run in shorter modules across one or more sessions.

Here’s 10 things to look for when selecting a presentation skills provider.

And this is how training improves online presenting.

Online presenting requires some different skills to presenting in-person, face-to-face. In simple terms, presenting online means we need to optimise our ‘headshot’ with good lighting and webcam. Learn to speak to the camera, not to the audience’s picture(s) on our computer screen. Learn to engage the online audience and get our message across to a remote audience.

Here are 10 differences between presenting online and presenting face-to-face.

And, how to present like a video-conferencing pro!

SecondNature specialises solely in business presentation skills courses. All our online coaching is delivered live, and we have a suite of 7 live online video training and coaching programmes:

Present to Persuade and Influence

Present Online With Confidence

Presenting Online Fastclass

Presenting For Applause (conferences and events)
Pitch2Win Online

Large Group
Presenting Skills Masterclass

Presentation Writing
Presentation Writing Essentials

SecondNature’s online programmes are live video coaching/training courses run over Zoom, Teams or any other video-conferencing app. They are specifically designed to run in shorter modules across one or more sessions.

Participants join the video-call session and a SecondNature coach will discuss each participant’s learning objectives. The coach then discusses the flow of the training programme, and how the content has been personalised for each participant. Each session contains a mix of theory and practical exercises.

The sessions are relaxed and super-interactive, with plenty of time for discussion and questions – plus the 1-to-1 sessions that typically conclude our intermediate and advanced programmes allow for lots of practical rehearsal (which is recorded) and coaching feedback. Most of the sessions are typically 1hr in duration but may be combined into a double session of 2hrs, with a 5 minute ‘breather’ break in between.

Our online programmes are run by our Senior Coaches from their home-offices using the latest, high-quality technology, plus slideware called Prezi Video – it’s online training like you’ve never seen before!

Here’s an introduction to our online programmes.

Online training really does not work over long sessions. You cannot simply run a full, one or two day, in-person programme online. It is far too intense.

So, we have a range of online courses from a 2hr Fastclass programme, to a 3hr Masterclass workshop and a number of intermediate and more advanced modular courses consisting of 6 x 1hr modules, run across 3 or 4 sessions. These latter course’s sessions are completed over 2-3 weeks.


In-person programmes used to be the default mode of training for everyone. And they are still a very important method of training.

We run in-person programmes because they offer a real face-to-face experience, with a live audience of colleagues, in a boardroom environment, that presents a great opportunity for more in-depth training, participation and practise over a full day, or two days (depending upon the course).

SecondNature specialises solely in business presentation skills courses, with a suite of 8 tailored and personalised in-person programmes including:

Present Inspire
Present to Persuade and Influence

Present With Confidence

Presenting Essentials

Presenting For Applause (conferences and events)

Large Group
Presenting Skills Masterclass

Presentation Writing
Presentation Writing Essentials

Our in-person programmes for teams, groups and individuals work by combining elements of theory with practice.

The shorter theory components teach the how and why of planning, structure and delivery, and are interspersed by multiple practical sessions throughout the programme, many of which are videoed. Typically, each person will present at the outset of the training programme, as this acts as a benchmark against which they can see, first hand, their improvement as they progress through the course. (NB we never ask anyone to view the video in front of the group). Instead, we have a powerful ‘Video Reflection/Action’ exercise that we ask people to complete when viewing their video on their own after the session.

So, everyone gets the opportunity to build and practise delivering a business-specific presentation relevant to their own role and in front of a small, supportive audience. And, crucially, the practice and rehearsal sessions offer individually personalised guidance, feedback and mentoring from the coach, as well as input from colleagues too.

99% of our in-person programmes are delivered on-site, at your offices, in your boardroom or large meeting room. We can also come to off-sites that you have arranged, like conference venues, or rented meeting spaces.


Believe us when we say that there is a lot more to successful public speaking than just rehearsing a script and kicking off with a few introductory jokes. The key to successful and engaging public speaking comprises of three key components:

    1. Effective planning
    2. Speech/presentation structure
    3. Persuasive delivery

At the heart of it all is the audience – what’s in it for them (WIIFT).

Tip 1. Effective planning

Think first about the audience you’re speaking with; what is their knowledge of the subject, what might their key concerns be, and what questions might they have?

Then, start with the end in mind. Where do you want to take the audience? What do you want them to think, feel or do at the end of your speech/presentation? How are you going to engage with them along the way?

Remember, you know more about your subject than they do. You need to share your knowledge and expertise, as well as your enthusiasm, with confidence and impact so by the time you get to the end of your talk there is only one possible outcome or solution. Yours!

Tip 2. Creating the structure

Don’t think about it as public speaking, rather, think about it as telling a story. Chunk it up to create chapters and focus on one key message per chapter. Include power words to emphasise key points and to make your story more compelling. There’s no such thing as dry, boring content; just dry boring presenters!

Tip 3. Persuasive delivery

The most highly rated TED talk presenters use tactics like power words, body language, gestures, movement with purpose, and intentional pausing to enhance audience engagement, generate impact and create distinct chapters.

Their style is conversational, they follow a structure but don’t read from a script, and their personality is evident throughout. Watch a few TED talks and you’ll see what we mean. The audience needs to get a sense of who you are, so let your personality shine through. And don’t forget to smile, make eye contact, include some humour and anecdotes along the way to break things up. It will relax you and your audience too.

Surveys have shown time and time again that the fear of public speaking is the number one most common phobia amongst adults, so if you suffer from pre-speech nerves, you’re not alone. And the good news is that nerves can actually help you stay focussed and sharp. The main reasons why people feel nerves before a speech are

  1. Under-preparation
  2. A tendency towards perfectionism
  3. The belief that the audience is there to criticise

Tip 1. Manage your nerves
Manage your nerves in the lead up to a public speaking event so they don’t undermine your confidence. Close your eyes, relax and breathe deeply for several minutes. Imagine your success. Visualise the talk you’re going to deliver from beginning to end; visualise and feel your conviction, the audience engagement; their approval. This is a tool used successfully by top athletes so learn from the pros!

Tip 2. Walk into the room like you own it
Tall, confident and in control. Use your body language to your advantage and project a positive attitude. Studies by Harvard Health have shown that there is a positive two-way connection between your body and your brain, so moving (See Tip 7 below) and adjusting your body language on the outside can have a positive influence on how you feel on the inside.

Tip 3. Smile
Smiling releases endorphins, the feel-good drug.

Tip 4. Connect with your audience
Give them a compelling reason why they are going to enjoy your speech and what’s in it for them (WIIFT).

Tip 5. Use your natural speaking voice
Use your natural speaking voice with plenty of variation in pitch, tone and volume. Don’t read from a script and keep it conversational.

Tip 6. Use gestures
Use gestures to add impact when you want to emphasise a point. And remember less is more, so don’t wave your arms around needlessly.

Tip 7. Positive movement
Positive movement makes you look more confident and will grab the audience’s attention, even if it’s just a few steps. Use movement to signify the start and end of a chapter. Move closer to the audience when you want to land a message, or to the other side of the stage to ‘own the room’. Just remember not to fidget or sway.

Tip 8. Be yourself and let your personality shine through
If you try to be someone you’re not then the audience will see through you straight away. Being your authentic self will not only help you to feel confident, it will also put the audience at ease.

Tip 9. Take a pause
If you feel the nerves coming on during your speech. Move, take a sip of water. This will help you to regain control and we promise you; the audience won’t even notice.

Glossophobia. That’s the nerdy, scientific term for a fear of public speaking and it’s very common in adults. But why do some of us dread the prospect of having to speak in public:

  1. Fear and anxiety; this triggers a nervous system response and leads to a state of hyperarousal which interferes with our ability to perform tasks well
  2. Worry that the audience is there to criticise; we believe that if we perform badly we will be judged and our credibility will be undermined
  3. No experience; but if we always avoid it we are never going to improve
  4. Lack of training; even confident people need help and training to become confident public speakers

Breathing exercises, meditation, and a different cognitive approach (think about it as communicating rather than public speaking) can all help, but the best way to overcome your fear is with professional training and plenty of practise. You might also want to check out ‘the introvert’s guide to presenting’.

While it sounds cliched, there is one thing that all great speakers have, and that’s confidence. Absolute confidence in their ideas and confidence in themselves. And it’s this confidence that leads to more engaging and convincing speeches and presentations. The good news is that we can all become confident public speakers with practise and a few top tips.

Tip 1. Knowledge is power
If knowledge is power then preparation is the key. Research your audience thoroughly. Why are they listening to you? What do they want to know? What concerns or questions might they have?

Tip 2. Plan your talk
Plan your talk so that it tells a compelling story with obvious chapters and clear messages. But try to limit these critical messages so as not to overwhelm the audience. Between 3 and 5 is about the right amount.

Tip 3. Spend time planning the end and make it impactful
All too often we see a good speech ruined by the words, ‘Well, that’s it.’

Tip 4. Know your content inside out
This enables you to concentrate on the delivery rather than reading from a script, or even worse, winging it. Rehearse and get feedback if you can; it’s a valuable tool. At a minimum you should record yourself and watch yourself back.

Tip 5. Anticipate questions
Anticipate questions in advance so that you are well prepared and able to answer confidently.

Tip 6. Practise your movements and gestures
Practice movements and gestures as well as your speech. Movement with purpose and deliberate gestures will help to engage the audience and they are also a great way to punctuate the story you are telling. And of course don’t forget plenty of eye contact with the audience and of course, smiling.

Tip 7. Make it a conversation
This applies to your delivery style as well as the narrative. Ask the audience questions, get them to raise their hands and get involved. Then your speech is not just about you, it’s about everyone.

Tip 8. Take every opportunity you can to present and speak publicly
The more you do it the better you’ll get.