Five Tips for Overcoming Public Speaking Nerves

Your mouth is dry, heart palpitating, and knees knocking. You go into panic, facing a dreaded public speaking assignment.

It doesn't have to be so.

These five tips will give you some strategies to overcome those symptoms and have the butterflies flying in formation.

1. Deep breathing will pull in oxygen. Adrenalin, secreted to help you deal with the fear brought on by little doubts, causes breaths to become shallow, or causes you to hold your breath. Deep breathing will help your brain work to capacity, and forcing the slower pace will quell the panic.

2. Bluff. Stand tall, with shoulders back and chest out. Smile. Even though you don't feel happy or confident, do it anyway. You will look confident and your body will fool your brain into thinking it is confident. This really works!! Bluff ? body and smile

3. Keep you mouth and throat hydrated. Plan to keep a drink on hand while you are speaking., though this sounds impossible. Visualising how you will use it if you need it, and calling up the audacity to do such a thing will carry across to your attitude as you take your place to speak, placing your glass just where you need it to be.

4. Adrenalin sends the blood rushing to the fight/flight centres of your brain at the base of the skull. Place your hand on your forehead and press gently on the bony points. This will bring the blood to the parts of the brain that need it to present your speech best.

5. Know you are prepared. Obviously this depends on actually being prepared, so take every opportunity in the days leading up to the speech to prepare your material. Be familiar with the structure of the presentation, and the ideas to use. Memorise the most important parts, and the parts you are frightened of forgetting. I would memorise the opening of the speech and in the moments before presenting it, would reassure myself that I knew that part, and that would lead on to the rest. It worked!!

If you want to develop your speaking confidence, visit an ITC club. You will have the chance to find the strategies that work for you and perfect them. ITC offers a supportive environment and constructive evaluation for you to develop your communication skills.

This article was written by Bronwyn Ritchie for Communicators Logan City, an ITC Club. All rights reserved. You are welcome to reproduce it accompanied by the following information: ITC is an international organisation offering training in communication, leadership and organisation skills. International Training in Communication provides opportunities for personal growth that show immediate results. The ITC website is at

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