Public Speaking Nerves – How to Overcome Your Nerves When Giving a Public Speech

public speaking nerves

You’ve heard the old saying that no one gets excited about public speaking nerves and you might have even tried a few times to tense up before going on, only to find your nerves kicking into high gear before you even get started. If you’re like most people, it probably happened when you were in school. Maybe you had a speech to give and you just had to get through it as fast as you could so you can get back to whatever it is you were thinking about when you walked up to that podium. Whatever the case may be, you may have thought to yourself that if only I had a little more time to prepare my speaking skills, I could get through any speech that comes my way without having to worry about getting nervous! So now here you are, nervous to the max, trying to make your first public speaking experience go as smoothly as possible.

The Basics

Justin Lee et al. standing in front of a fence

The good news is that there are things you can do to help you eliminate public speaking nerves the next time you give a presentation. There are many ways to prepare for a speech, but none of them compare to actually practice your approach the night before. By simply rehearsing the key points of your presentation, you will become better prepared for when you are finally up on stage. Even the best-prepared speakers can become nervous at times and rehearsing beforehand helps you stay relaxed during the main part of the presentation.

In many cases, the very reason that someone becomes nervous is not because they are entirely convinced that they have said everything they need to say. Sometimes the problem is that they are not totally convinced that they can deliver a good speech. Public speaking is far more psychological than it is based upon logic or facts, so making sure that you mentally prepare before you speak is one of the best ways to eliminate public speaking nerves. Once you are confident that you have covered all the main points of your presentation, you can then move on to the next stage of your journey to becoming an acclaimed public speaker.


So what do you do to overcome public speaking nerves? The first thing you can do is to distract yourself. Yes, getting rid of those butterflies is easier said than done. However, there are various ways in which you can distract yourself during the process and the ultimate decision is really up to you. Do you want to focus on something completely random, or would you like to create a story in your head that involves butterflies? Whatever method that you decide on, it is important that you find a way to keep your mind off butterflies and concentrate on something else.

Another great way to prepare for public speaking nerves is to get into the mindset of letting the audience know that you are not going to be easily rattled by their questions. One of the biggest fears of most people is simply standing before an audience and having to deliver a prepared speech. You may be able to get over your nerves in this manner, but chances are that you will still be nervous. To overcome these nervous moments, simply make eye contact with the audience, smile and be engaging. By making eye contact, you are telling the audience that you are not going to be intimidated by their questions.

Genuine Feelings

Another way to overcome public speaking nerves is to let out your true emotions. If you feel butterflies in your stomach when you are giving a speech, then you need to let them come out. Tell your audience that you are not going to be easily shaken by their questions and that you are going to be more than willing to talk about butterflies. If you can get over your fear of butterflies, you will likely find that you will be able to smile through most of the question and answer session.

Perhaps the best advice for overcoming your nerves is to practice your next speech ten times before you ever have to speak in front of an audience. By pre-planning and preparing for your speech for weeks or months in advance, you become comfortable with the idea of speaking to a real live audience. When you give your speech, you will find that you are far more relaxed and that your heart rate is much lower than usual. This will make it much easier for you to get through your speech on time.


Don’t let these public speaking nerves ruin your presentation. Remember that you don’t have to sit down and overcome your nervousness right now. You simply need to stay calm and avoid putting yourself under any pressure. Overcome your nerves and go on with your presentation knowing that you are ready to speak in front of an audience.

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