Controlling Your Nerves During a Presentation

Today is Thursday, so this post is on communication skills.

Public speaking is an important communication skill for anyone who is interested in career and life success.  Yet, all too often, smart, competent people let their nerves get the best of them when they have to speak in front of a group.

I found an excellent piece on how to control your nerves when you’re in front of an audience by Bronwyn Ritchie.  I’d like to share the high points with you.  You can find the entire article at

Five Keys to Managing Your Nerves in Front of an Audience

  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 centers 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. Memorize the most important parts, and the parts you are frightened of forgetting. I would memorize 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!!

These are five common sense ideas for controlling your nerves when you are in front of an audience.  Presentation skills are important.  More than one career has taken off as a result of one good talk to the right people.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website to subscribe to my monthly ezine and for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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