Is there anything more common than a nervous public speaker? Actually there is - a confident public speaker.
It's not the nervous-nellie making a complete hash of things as they stumble over their words that is the bane of the business speaking world. Rather it is the complete opposite that I see most often. That is a confident, secure public speaker making a complete hash of things as they insist on ploughing through their ill-conceived presentation.
The fact is that most business people (certainly senior business people) are quite happy to get up in front of a group of people and talk. If not happy they at least don't fall apart at the thought of it. Confidence is not their problem nor, for the most part, are presentation skills themselves. That isn't to say that presentation skills couldn't be improved it's just that they wouldn't make that much of a difference. The truth is that we teach presentation skills primarily to give people confidence rather than to make them a more effective presenter. For most people presentation skills aren't designed to make you better - they are designed to make you feel better about being very average. Ultimately, even if mastered, presentation skills are simply the icing on the cake not the cake itself. Things like gestures, vocal variety and stagecarft may appear desirable but the world is full of people who communicate brilliantly without them. Stephen Hawking, for example, speaks in a monotone provided by a machine while unable to move and yet remains compelling. The key is in what he has to say more than how he happens to say it.
Content matters more than delivery and therein lies the problem with our business leaders. Their delivery is polished to the point of being robotic but their content is awful. What is often perceived as a presentation skills issue by those who don't know any better is actually an inability to formulate an argument, identify a simple message, articulate the core issues and structure a presentation so it makes sense.
The scary thing is if they can't do that with their communication then how the hell do they effectively run a business? I suspect the answer is they don't.