How to calm public speaking nerves

by | Sep 21, 2020 | Public Speaking, Communicating with Confidence

Everybody has to speak to others at some point. Whether it’s 1 to 1, in small groups or at events. But what you may not realise is 3 out of 4 people have a fear of public speaking. So you are not alone. But how can you calm public speaking nerves?

Everybody gets nervous. Especially when taking on a task like speaking in public. It’s a part of being human and something everyone will always experience. In this article, I’m going to discuss what you can do to help control the extent to which your nerves take over.

Speak to one person

Think about speaking 1 to 1. Imagine a person in authority. Someone you may have built up in your mind because of their title or importance. Somebody, you’re worried will think bad of you if something goes wrong.

They are only a person. No different to you or me. In fact, they might have some of the same nerves you have but are a little better at hiding them. So don’t let who they are or what they might be thinking worry you.

Continue this thought process when speaking to groups and larger audiences. Speak to each person individually. Remember, they have all the same fears and feelings which you have. They aren’t sitting there hoping you fail and thinking negatively. They’re there to see you and want you to succeed.

calm public speaking nerves - speak to one person

Have structure

There are no hard and fast rules to how long a talk, speech or presentation needs to be. The most important thing is to make sure you deliver your desired message. Also, be sure to have a clear opening which outlines what you’re about to discuss and provokes thought. Then cover your main points using great content to strengthen your arguments.

Once you have discussed your main topics, summarise everything. Be sure to drive home the message which you want your audience to remember. It’s a simple structure but if you plan your presentation in this way then there’s no reason that it won’t be excellent.

Slow things down

The average person talks at a speed of 110 to 150 words per minute. But when you’re nervous it can reach over 200 words per minute. People also tend to mumble. They do this because they feel like they’re suffering. They can’t wait to get it over with and breathe a sigh of relief.

Slow it down, take time out to breathe between sentences and don’t forget its ok to pause and let your audience take a moment to think about what you have said. Giving yourself time to articulate your message and breathing often will help you to calm your public speaking nerves which in turn will give you more confidence and improve your delivery.

slow down to reduce public speaking nerves

Stay positive

Another cause of unnecessary nerves is worrying about what others think. People worry about being judged, starred at or that somebody may laugh at them. This is caused by a lack of self-belief and a lack of self-worth. If you have self-belief and self-worth you don’t care what others think. Isn’t that a great place to be.

Give yourself a break, think positive thoughts and be proud of what you have achieved. Remember, your audience does not know what you’re about to say. So even if you make a mistake, only you will know about it. The only way they’ll know is if you tell them. Instead, take a second, have a breath and move on. Even using the word mistake feels a little off. Yes, you have a script but who says it must be set in stone?

Final thoughts on calming public speaking nerves

Speak to one person at a time and remember, they are human too. People all feel the same nerves and fears at some point in their lives. Be sure to have a solid structure, allowing you to drive your message home to your audience. Slow it down and take a breath whenever you need, there’s no rush. Most of all, stay positive. Be kind to yourself and remember, it’s ok to get nervous but how nervous is in your control.

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© Sonal Dave all rights reserved 2024. No reproduction of this content in part or in full is permitted without prior permission.

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Public Speaking Expert & Trainer: SONAL DAVE

Communication and public speaking expert, Sonal, helps both children and adults communicate more effectively so that they have the tools and skills they need for better relationships and, indeed, for life.

Through her extensive experience working within the youth work, entertainment and business sectors, Sonal is uniquely placed to help bridge the communication gap between kids and adults.

Sonal’s exciting and engaging workshops and courses help people the world over reconnect and communicate so that they can overcome the barriers to success that have been holding them back.

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