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Control Your Public Speaking Anxiety & Nerves

Quick Notes - Control Speech Anxiety and Nervousness:
  • Take deep and steady breaths
  • Excercise an 1-2 hours before a speech or presentation
  • Gain self confidence

The thought of a disastrous speech is typically the cause of those disasters. In other words, the more you think of something to go wrong the better chance that it will. In most instances however, the worst of it all is one of the following: stuttering, dry mouth, perspiration, loss of breath, loss of concentration, trembling, skin discoloring or flushing, sweating, voice trembling, talking too loudly or softly, speaking to fast, and other common nervous expressions. In this lesson we are going to show you how to control these nervous symptoms.

How to Control Nervous Symptoms During Speech

There are many proven ways to calm your nerves and anxieties before a big speech or presentation. These tips and techniques will be sure to help next time your in the spotlight.

Take a Breather

I've seen it all too often, people trying to rush through a presentation because they are nervous. Unfortunately this is a poor way to face your fears and overcome your nervous symptoms. Rushing causes stuttering, loss of breath, voice trembling, and completely puts your audience in a distasteful mood towards your presentation. If you find that you are moving too fast or getting caught up in what you are saying, take a moment to collect yourself and your thoughts. Take a deep breath, clear your throat, and continue with your presentation in calmer approach. Even if you need to take a few moments to really calm your nerves and breath, just ask your audience for forgiveness as you slow your heart rate with a few deep breaths. Even admitting to your audience that your not the smoothest of speakers will get you points for being honest. If you try to hide your nerves and rush through your speech, people may feel just as uncomfortable as you do.

Exercise Before a Presentation

A light exercise is proven to clear your head of cobwebs and flush out your stomachs butterfly's. If your presentation or speech is at noon, try waking up at a decent hour (say no later than 10am), eat a healthy breakfast, then do some exercises or go for a jog about 1-2 hours before your speech or presentation. Just be sure to give yourself enough time before your speech to gather your notes or material, rushing will only increase your stress levels and raise your heart beat.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

Confidence is key. Be sure to wear something comfortable yet stylish so you feel good about yourself. It might sound silly, but the better you feel about how you look, the more confident you will be during your presentation. There have been times where I threw on jeans and a t-shirt before a business presentation and did not even realize how silly I looked until I was standing next to people with pastel dress shirts and ties. In these instances you begin to get flustered, self-conscious, and nervous about your presentation - a combination you do not want to experience. Another thing to keep in mind, your body's temperature rises when you are nervous. For some people this means major pit stains! If you are one of these people be sure to wear something lightweight and very dark colored. This way you wont be worrying if people are staring at your armpits the whole time you are speaking!

Control Your Rapid Heart Beat

Has your heart beat ever become so rapid and loud before a speech that you felt like it was going to jump out of your chest? Most people have, its the result of adrenaline and other chemicals rushing in your body causing your heart rate to rise. Don't worry, everything is going to be alright. Your audience cannot see or hear your heart beat, it's only you. Once you immerse yourself in the situation, your body and heart rate will adapt and start to slow down. Take deep steady breaths. Try focusing your attention on someone in the audience that you feel comfortable with for a few minutes to ease your nerves.

Stop Your Trembling Hands or Legs

Adrenaline rushes often cause a persons hands, legs, or even whole body to tremble. If you experienced any of these nervous symptoms, there are ways to attack it or make it less noticeable. Hand trembling is probably the most common. If you are holding notes, DONT! Holding a piece of paper or note card in the air not only makes your trembling more noticeable, but it can increase trembling because you are focusing your attention and adrenaline to that part of your body. Instead try placing your notes down on a table in front of you (note - you should know your material well enough to not read off note cards, they are simply a topic guide). If there is not a table nearby, a shirt or pants pocket can work as well as long as your not pulling the notes out every 5 seconds. If your hands or legs are still shaking, try contracting the muscle for a few seconds to release some muscle energy and then relax - do this a few times and you should feel less trembling.