Nerves Nellie? – Seeking Relaxation?

Butterflies in the belly, Stage fright. Nerves, Fearful, Anticipation, Anxiety, Dry mouth, Sweaty palms, Uneasy, Worrying, Stressing?

Call it what you will – the symptoms of pre-speech fears, public speaking stage fright affect most of us, in fact if they didn’t then you would have a bigger problem to overcome. And that’s a good Stunned Nervesthing, because our nerves energise us and get us ready for the talk.  Your nervousness and anxiety are telling you, you want to influence & engage your audiences and speak at your best.

The good news is, your stage fear goes away after a few minutes into your presentation. Still, there is that tricky fight or flight time before you begin speaking.

Would  you like to turn down the intensity on those heeby jeebies and get to feel more in control?  Here are some strategies of dealing with stage fright tips you can try to help calm yourself just before you speak.  You shouldn’t need to try all of these methods every time. Find your “process”, that fits with you, then use them to reduce your pre performance fears just before you speak.

Tips for nerves
  • Get into the room early, at least an hour early if possible. Chat with people and start to feel the comfort of your surroundings.
  • Notice and think about your surroundings.
  • Go to the toilet.  ;^)
  • Check everything you need to check – sound system, speaking area, lectern, stage entry, acoustics, projector, slide show or video
  • Ask questions about local events or related topics to your talk
  • Drink small sips of room temperature water.
  • Empty your pockets of everything unessential to your delivery – heavy, rattly or awkward looking
  • Check out how you look in a mirror and make sure all adjustments are complete before getting on stage.
  • Have your hair under control, pinned or tied back not continually dropping across your face or sliding off your ear.
  • Check you have minimal jewellery that won’t distract you or your audience
  • Get into a conversation with the people by you. Ask interesting questions to show your interest.

    no nerves
    Cool George
  • Hum to warm up your vocal chords.  Yawn to relax your throat.
  • Wear a warm smile
  • Run your purpose and mantra through your head several times.
  • Look at all the interesting people here to hear you.
  • Review your opening and close.

More tips for nerves

  • Go to the toilet.. again.  ;^)
  • Square diaphragm breathe deeply, evenly, and slowly for several minutes – 3 seconds in, three seconds hold, three seconds out, three seconds hold.
  • If you have nervous knees, go for a quick walk.
  • Refrain from eating if possible especially nuts, chocolate, anything drying, sticky or crunchy that might cause you to want to clear your throat, keep drinking, cough or get in your teeth.
  • Double and triple check your A/V equipment.
  • Refuse alcohol, caffeinated or high sugar drinks or any kind of drugs until after you have spoken.
  • Mentally rehearse using visualisation when in the speaking area.
  • Pay attention to your audience.
  • Listen to motivational music.
  • Do exercises that tighten and release muscles to release nervous energy.
  • Shake hands and smile with attendees before the start.
  • Practice your eye contact as you chat with people.

cartoon presentation nerves Remember that nervousness is normal, your audience would prefer to see you do well, they mostly feel embarrassed if you are showing your nerves. Your audience is there because they want something from your talk certainly not to measure if you are nervous or not.

You are merely the conduit of your information for your audience to absorb and hopefully take away to help them become better.  Feel yourself as calm and centred using the strategies above, and you’ll be ready to present your best every time.

Nerves Still?


A good thing to remember is that fear is a concoction of our imagination, it is not real.  Our feelings are real however we create them with our thoughts. We can change that as quick as a wink.

Imagine if you are sad or a little angry and a happy soul comes along and tells you a ripper joke and you can’t help but burst out laughing. Your imagination put you in that funny situation and you laughed, just the same as your imagination puts you in a fearful situation and you get scared feelings. Change your thoughts and you change your feelings.

Back on the post about purpose the first ‘P’ I mentioned a mantra. There is a reference also to using the mantra in a certain way to sharpen your focus. This is a very effective way to also rethink your self away from your False Evidence Appearing Real negative thinking that is giving you your feelings of fear.

The simplest way is to think these are the same feelings I get when I am pumped about doing something exciting..  I can do this and have fun.

I can do this and have fun!


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Cheers
Terry

Article by Terry

Over the years Terry has learned to be a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Keynote Speaker, Presenter, Teacher, Coach, Mentor, Business Owner/Manager, Trainer, Facilitator, Teacher, Sailor, Dancer, Worker, Gardener, Reader, Music Lover and someone who thoroughly enjoys helping people to become better. We are all evolving by learning all the time, how and what we choose to learn makes us who we become. The key to Terrys passionate and enthusiastic approach is savouring the experience of contributing to the growth, action and enjoyment of the individual with their career.

13 Comments


  1. HA, That picture at the top looks a lot like me many years ago. I have always been terrified of speaking infront of a classroom let alone a large audience.
    In recent years though I’ve been asked to speak infront of a few hundred people at a time. I do a lot of what you listed above and have learned that once you get those first few sentences out it gets a lot better all by itself.

    1. Thank you Debra, I appreciate your time and valued comment. yes once you are focused on your audience life for the speaker gets easier as you progress through your talk. The only issue for me is when you have to fudge the long pause while trying to remember what has escaped from my mind.
      Cheers
      Terry

  2. Great article! I am okay at public speaking, but always get nervous. You have some really good ideas here that I will definitely use!

    Thanks!

  3. Hi Terry,

    Thanks for this – I have to get up in front of people just about every week and I can definitely say that, with practice, it gets easier.

    There was a time where I would sweat pure adrenaline bullets at even the thought of getting in front of a crowd – thank goodness it’s nowhere near as severe now!

    I often find it helpful to try to override excessive nerves by talking inwardly to myself (kind of like a pep talk), and using the frontal lobe to train the amygdala to be more at ease.

    Thanks again and all the best,
    Sean

    1. Thank you Sean, Yes nothing replaces experience and constant practice except having a coach to give you feedback, motivate you, challenge you, push you to continually develop better methods and practices.
      Thanks for your tip of an inward pep talk, Similarly it keeps your mind focused on the positives.
      Cheers
      Terry

  4. Hello Terry

    You have already gave me your thoughts on my site so I’ll give you some feedback on yours. I really like the topic. When I even think of public thinking I feel the knot in my stomach. I enjoy your humorous approach in presenting the info.

    You gave me some things to do if I ever get in that situation again. I gave a toast at a wedding a few months back and did alright, but they had no idea how terrified on the inside I was. Like you said the nerves subside after a few moments doing it, but you still have that initial fear of judgement, fumbling your words, and other such things. Thanks for sharing.

    Jason

    1. Thanks Jason,
      You are right with the more you do it the easier you feel about speaking to a mob.I have a heap of more material from my experiences over the years and will still keep writing blogs.
      Cheers
      Terry

  5. Great topic. I loathe public speaking. I get way too nervous and though I may start out strong…my nerves catch up and I mess up. I avoid speaking in crowds like the plague. I always assumed people were judging me…waiting for me to mess up/looking for the problems with my information. Therefore, I really like you conclusion paragraph, great perspective. So the audience is really not waiting to find something to criticize…:)

    1. Hi Angel,
      Yes I agree, I felt the same when starting out, horror horror “they are judging me”, and I have learnt it couldn’t be further from the truth. Do you sit there and judge speakers to amuse yourself or are you there to gain something from the talk? Our self consciousness is a killer, the saying “you gotta get past your own BS” is so true. People on the whole are great individuals and want you to do well. They want it even more if they have invested money or time in being there to listen. Take your focus from yourself and redirect it to your audience. Pay it forward, a bit like WA.
      Cheers
      Terry

  6. Awesome information Terry, I have a teenage son who is on debate teams, and can use this information for calming his nerves before getting up and presenting information. Very helpful and made me chuckle on the amount of times you mentioned go to the toilet 🙂 It does take some getting use to when speaking in front of any crowd, your tips and suggestions are awesome 🙂 Will be sharing with friends on social media, lots of people will definitely be able to use your helpful information.

    1. Thank you Renee. Yes I can’t even have a cuppa tea or I want to go half way through a presentation. Bad enough when there is await and the nervous sees get you, at least I know they go away when I start speaking. Thank you for sharing.
      Cheers
      Terry

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