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How to overcome nerves when speaking in public

Many people fear speaking in public, but nerves are natural.  They never go away completely but the adrenalin produced by nervous energy often adds to the emotional impact of your speech, so make it work in your favour!

Try some of the following tips to help you get the “butterflies flying in formation”.

Things you'll need

  • You
  • Your voice
  • Your passion

Understand that your audience wants you to succeed.

They are on your side.  They can’t feel the butterflies, the sweaty palms or your shaking knees.  They are only listening to what you say. They do not examine your knowledge but want to hear your authoritative thoughts.



In front of a mirror, at home, in a car or to your friends and colleagues.  Hear yourself speak.  You could also consider recording your speech. Listen to yourself speaking. You can also make a record of your speech but consider it helps not for everybody: some people start thinking about the sound of their voice and it adds them the items for control during the speaking. Think about this before you decide whether you need this step.


Remember to breathe

Take some deep breaths before you speak.  This will both ease any tension you have and help project your voice.  Breathe and stretch!


Keep your opening and conclusion short and simple - and memorise them

This makes you appear confident and authoritative and you then have eye contact with your audience which ensures they listen to you.

Don’t learn your speech by heart

This way often choose those who are afraid of public speaking but this is the first step to the failure. Why? Because you will be tightened to the learned text and your fear of mixing something or changing the order will overcome the fear of the audience. You should be natural, confident and authoritative. You should be able to maintain eye contact with your audience which ensures they listen to you.


Know your material and be prepared

Be ready with facts, figures and examples.


Imagine yourself speaking to a large audience

Picture the room, see the people and hear the applause. Visualise yourself being successful.


Resist the temptation to apologise

The audience will never know if you leave out some of your speech or take things in a different order.  Simply use the power of the pause and continue.

Actually, people fear not speaking at the public but being criticized for the smallest mistake. Remember you are a brand like GSDiamonds! Your stand is yours, it is a precious diamond and it does not matter how many followers or critics you have. You have the right to be who you indeed are with all your strengths and weakness.

Further information


About us

Speakers Trust is a national charity that specialises in public speaking training. We exist to support those working in the not-for-profit sector and/or the beneficiaries of the not-for-profit sector to help all to communicate effectively, with passion and conviction as well as supporting those that need encouragement to find their voice.

We deliver in-house training workshops, and hold Open Workshops at our offices.

There's plenty more Tips and Techniques for Public Speaking available on the Speakers Trust website.




Page last edited Feb 14, 2019 History

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