Presentations are not exactly your favourite thing, but you've still got to do that talk next week, right?

(Already own Presentation Now? Reader resources and Take It Further chapters here)

Looking for a lunch and learn session for your meetup, conference or workplace? Go here!


Presentation Now helps you

  • create a do-able, engaging presentation rapidly (in three hours or under!)

  • deliver it in a fluent and natural way

  • have the whole process not be such a life-sucking drama.

The thing is, no one ever teaches you how to prepare presentations properly so we default to the nearest thing: a document. Or the modern alternative: POWERPOINT SLIDES.


  • How can you make your boring topic interesting so you don't make everyone hate you?

  • How do you filter your knowledge so your presentation doesn't go on for FOUR HOURS? (Or the flipside: how do you not run out of things to say?)

  • How can you be persuasive without being slimy?

  • How do you stop being so nervous and feeling like a fraud?

In Presentation Now, I take you through a systematic process that will get you moving immediately into surprisingly enjoyable preparation. Once you've decided on what to say, I tell you exactly what to do to deal with nerves, look good, sound natural, tell stories easily and deal with Q&A confidently. No personality overhaul required.

For anyone who struggles with public speaking, and most of us do, Meg Lightheart’s encouraging style and very specific guidelines will make a huge, immediate difference.
— Doug Kim, Software Industry Content Manager


Presentations are a necessary evil but you can get better at them really, really fast.

The first time you plan a presentation with Presentation Now, it's like you have me by your side, talking you through exactly what to do to prepare most efficiently. In three hours of preparation, you'll have a presentation ready to deliver.

Meg’s chatty and engaging style makes you feel like he’s right there, challenging and supporting you all the way through the shockingly speedy presentation planning process.
— Mike Brooman, CEO, Vanti

Depending on how much time you then have, you can move to work on improving your skills to deal with nerves, to coach yourself on your delivery and/or get ready for interaction on the day.

When you come back to the process for your next presentation, you'll find that you can streamline it until you actually become one of those people who says yes to presentations with no fear, someone who people think of as a 'born speaker'.

Meg is a miracle worker. She changed me from someone who avoided presentations to someone who seeks them out. If you can’t get the chance to work with Meg personally, this book is the next best thing.
— Jane Tyler, MD, RedBlack Software

I wrote Presentation Now because for 10 years I couldn't find a book to recommend to my presentation coaching clients.

My name's Meg Lightheart [edit: the book came out when I still used the name Andrew] and I help individuals, teams, organisations and movements evolve their leadership. Along the way I've coached 5,000 presentations by speakers from 22 different countries. Over the period of a decade, every time I coached someone, ran a masterclass or did a talk, people would ask me: What presentation book would you recommend?

To be frank, I couldn't find a presentation book that suited ordinary people doing ordinary presentations (i.e. people who had no interest in being 'professional' speakers). Everything was either super-comprehensive (read: generic and unwieldy), all about slide design or focused on how to be 'inspirational'. What my clients needed was something that was practical, down-to-earth but from someone who compassionately appreciated how tough presentations can be.

So when Pearson approached me, I looked back over 10 years of experience, gathered all the questions that people had ever asked me about presentations, evaluated what workshop attendees had said had helped them, and put it into a book!


Presentation Now has three sections: Plan, Speak and Extend.


In the PLAN section, I get you started by thinking in detail about the situation you're going into, so you know your communication is going to naturally be bespoke. Then you choose a ready-made recipe which you can use as a starting point for whatever situation you're in (pitch, conference presentation, project update...) so you don't have to face a blank page. Those recipes make sure you're including all the ingredients that make sure people come along with you on the journey you're taking them on. Then you refine, practice, and work out what to do with notes and visual aids. Three hours start to finish. As they say: BOOM.

The SPEAK section focuses on five core skills of:

1. Calm: Dealing with nerves
2. Steady: Looking confident
3. Natural: being conversational
4. Story: Telling stories
5. Listen: Handling the Q&A.

Each of those sections has timed exercises of between 5 and 20 minutes split into:

  • Quick Wins which give you immediate change

  • Next Steps which allow you to know what to do next

You always know exactly what to do next so no decision paralysis.

Finally the EXTEND section takes your skills into the world. We consider conference calls and international settings so wherever you're doing your presentation and whoever is listening, you're covered. There are even a couple of pep talks to read just before and just after you talk to make sure you get yourself in the right frame of mind before you stand up, and you review your talk in a way that maximises your learning (I'm looking at you Negative Self-Talkers...)

The whole experience is chatty, practical and calm.

This is such a useful guide to presenting in different situations. It’s really easy to follow and the writer puts you at ease throughout, giving hints, tips, ‘recipes’ and exercises that help you get your thought processes and confidence together. It felt as if a knowledgeable friend was talking you through the process and supporting you along the way. It’s useful not only for those who are new to presentation skills but also as a great refresher for people who present messages in their day to day work to a range of audiences.
— Ness Cole (five star Amazon review)

Download the first chapter of Presentation Now

Here's the first chapter for free! No email address required (though if you want to sign up to my periodic interesting links newsletter email, feel free!)

Just click the button for the free chapter - it takes you through planning questions that will help you get going really fast with preparing your presentation.


How to get your copy

If you live in the UK and you'd like to support local bookstores, buy it here from

Even if you're buying the e-book, you can specify a bookshop to receive the commission. We heart Hive.

Or of course Amazon:

If you need help with a presentation right now, I'm available for one-to-one coaching.