Nervousness When Speaking

Nervousness when Speaking

In school, remember how you felt as you were about to take an exam?  If you were prepared and ready, you felt relatively calm and confident.  If you didn’t know the material well enough, you were nervous.  Presentations produce the same feelings.

Why we get nervous

Symptoms of nervousness are natural; they help our body prepare for challenges.  (Think of the cave people warding off large, predatory animals!)  Butterflies, shaking hands or knees, stuttering, dry mouth, sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat all signal that your body is revving up for challenge.

What the good news is

In most cases, nervousness doesn’t show.  Your audience sees only what you do and say—not what you think or feel.  Seeing yourself on video, you’ll be surprised that you look much different than you thought.

Nervousness is actually a good thing.  A little edginess helps you appear energetic.  If you’re not fired up about your subject, your audience won’t be either.

What to do about nervousness

Prepare and rehearse.  The more you prepare, the less nervous you’ll be.  How much preparation you need depends on how comfortable you are with your material.  Rehearse until you feel confident.

So, remember…

  • Nervousness is natural
  • Everybody gets nervous to some degree
  • Nervousness doesn’t show
  • Plan specific time to prepare and to rehearse
  • If you think you suffer from dry mouth, place a glass of water nearby

Leslie Bobrowsky

Specialty Training Services, Inc., 525 East 80th Street, New York, NY, 10075