You are not alone in public speaking nervousness.


·        Public speaking nervousness is reported as people’s number one fear.

·        Nervousness can be a significant barrier to public speaking.

·        Public speaking nervousness is understandable

·        We desire to do well, to preserve our egos, self-esteem and our pride.

·        However, sometimes our bodies prepare us too strongly by physiologically reacting before the speechmaking begins.


Public speaking nervousness is more felt by the speaker than observed by the audience.


·        Audiences cannot hear all the noise that is going on inside the speaker.

·        Control your worry about appearing nervous


Some public speaking nervousness can actually be useful for public speaking success.


·        Extra adrenaline, blood flow, and other bodily changes increase energy levels.

·        Your “heightened state of awareness” can assist you to speak better.


Practical experience and contemporary research give us some good tips for managing public speaking nervousness.


1.     Know your audience

2.     Learn as much as you can about your audiences.

3.     Anticipate your audiences’ reactions

4.     Focus on connecting to listeners rather than your own fear.

5.     Be prepared

6.     Good presentation leads to less anxiety.

7.     Good preparation includes research, outlining and practicing.

8.     Select an appropriate topic

9.     Choose a familiar topic

10. Choose a topic you have experienced.

11. Visit your speech environment and become familiar with the context in which you will be delivering your speech.

12. Imagine your audience.

13. Imagine the room when rehearsing.

14. Practice your approach to the speaking area.

15. What type of entrance or introduction do you want to create?

16. Practice aloud.

17. Know your introduction and conclusion.

18. Confidence with your overall introduction and conclusion leads to overall comfort with your speech.


Visualize yourself succeeding.


19. Imagined success promotes actual success.

20. See yourself as controlled and confident.

21. Use deep breathing techniques

22. Use slow, deep breaths just prior to approaching to speak.

23. Use deep breathing to assist in full body relaxing.


Focus on your message, and not your fears.

24. Anticipating fear can cause fear.

25. Think through the structure of your speech as you wait to speak.

26. Give yourself a mental pep talk.

27. Drink a few sips of very cold water.

28. Self-talk can increase your confidence levels.

29. Screen out negative thoughts; replace them with positive thoughts.

30. Channel your nervous energy.

31. Take a leisurely walk before entering the speaking environment.

32. Sit in a relaxed way before getting up to speak.

33. Think calm; act calm; be calm.

34. Seek out additional speaking opportunities and experience.

35. Join organizations and clubs.

36. Join the “Toastmasters’ club.

37. Look for positive listener support of your message.

38. Reinforcing feedback from the audience includes eye contact and facial expression.

39. Watch for supportive nonverbal behaviours from others.

40. Move around the room if at all possible.

41. Do not procrastinate in preparing your speech.

42. Apprehensive speakers become more nervous when they are not prepared.

43. Take charge of your speech assignment and work hard to feel successful.




Beebe, Steven., and Beebe, Susan. (2003). Public Speaking. “An Audience-Centered Approach. Fifth Edition. Pearson Education Inc. Boston, Mass.


Villagran, Morris; Wise, Charles and Ivy, Diana. (2003). Public Speaking. “An Audience Centered Approach”. Instructor’s Resource Manual for Beebe annd Beebe. Pearson Education Inc. Boston, Mass.

Zeuschner, Raymond. (1997). Communicating Today. Allyn and Bacon. Needham Heights, Massachusetts.