Imagine this: You are introduced to your audience, and all of a sudden, your heart starts to race, your breathing gets more rapid – and when you start to speak, your voice wobbles a bit. You are unable to focus well, and you feel like you are rambling. You are nervous.


Remember, you can control this reaction. Nervousness is the result of an outpouring of stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol. They create a ‘fight or flight’ response in your body, making your talk dynamic and energetic or making you run, creating a human-shaped hole in the wall.

If you routinely get nervous, there are ways to manage it:

Breathing is critical. Try deep, rhythmic breathing that engages all parts of your core body. This type of breathing has been shown to reduce the output of adrenaline, which makes you feel and look calmer.

Use your non-verbal communication to convey calm. Stand tall and grounded, look around the room at the audience’s eyes, smile and begin to speak.

Some people use visualization successfully. Here’s the key to successful visualization: visualize the talk going well, as a success – not the opposite!

Pre-game rituals, like taking a walk or reviewing your notes can help reduce nerves.

Practice, and then practice some more. Knowing what you want to say and practicing good physical delivery skills helps you get off on the right foot when your stress is at its highest.

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