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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.



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.


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.


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.

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 Jul 25, 2017 History

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