Shaking is a common symptom of nervousness and can greatly impact your confidence when giving a speech or presentation. While it may not be possible to eliminate nerves and the accompanying shaking, you can do a few things to minimize the effects and help you feel more confident.
The science of public speaking anxiety
Many people get anxious when public speaking. Public speaking is one of the most common fears people have. The good news is that there are some scientifically-proven ways to reduce public speaking anxiety. This article will cover some of the most effective methods for reducing nerves before speaking in public.
The fight or flight response
The fight or flight response is a natural reaction to a perceived threat. When we feel threatened, our body goes into survival mode and releases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones cause physical changes, like increased heart rate and blood pressure, making us feel jittery and anxious.
While the fight or flight response is designed to protect us in dangerous situations, it can also be triggered by less life-threatening events, like public speaking. The flight or fight response can make the experience even more stressful for people with public speaking anxiety.
You can do a few things to calm your body’s stress response before giving a speech. Practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing and muscle relaxation can help reduce anxiety’s physical symptoms. Focusing on positive self-talk and visualization can also help to ease your fears.
The psychology of public speaking anxiety
When you’re nervous about public speaking, your body responds as if it’s threatened. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase, your breathing quickens, and you might even start to sweat. These physical reactions are part of the fight-or-flight response, which is your body’s natural way of protecting itself in a dangerous situation.
Although the fight-or-flight response is helpful if you’re in danger, it can be very debilitating if you’re giving a presentation. The good news is that there are things you can do to control your anxiety and make sure it doesn’t get the better of you.
The first step is to understand what causes public speaking anxiety. This can vary from person to person, but there are some common triggers, such as:
-Fear of failure: You might be worried that you’ll forget what you’re going to say or that you’ll make a mistake and look foolish in front of everyone.
-Fear of judgment: You might be worried that people will judge you based on your performance or think less of you if you don’t do well.
-Fear of the unknown: If you’ve never given a presentation before or are unfamiliar with the audience or venue, this can add to your anxiety.
Once you know what’s causing your anxiety, you can start to work on techniques to control it. Some common techniques include deep breathing, visualization, and positive self-talk. If your anxiety is severe, you might consider talking to a therapist who can help you develop coping strategies.
Steps to take to stop shaking when nervous about public speaking
It is perfectly normal to feel nervous when public speaking. The key is not to let the nerves take over. Here are a few steps you can take to stop shaking when nervous about public speaking:
Acknowledge the feeling
When you start to feel nervous, it can be tempting to try to ignore the feeling or push it away. But the first step to managing nerves is to acknowledge them. Accept that you’re feeling nervous and remind yourself that it’s perfectly normal. Trying to suppress your nerves will only make them worse.
Prepare your material
Preparing your material is the first step to stopping shaking when nervous about public speaking. This means knowing your material inside and out so you can confidently speak about it in front of an audience. If you need clarification on any aspect of your material, take the time to research it and practice explaining it until you are confident in your ability to do so.
Additionally, writing your speech or presentation in full ahead of time can be helpful. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with your material’s flow and help you keep track of where you are during the presentation. Try to practice delivering your speech or presentation in front of a mirror or friends and family members to get feedback and help build your confidence.
Use positive visualization
A positive visualization is a powerful tool that can help you control your nerves and perform at your best when speaking in public. When you visualize yourself speaking confidently and effectively, your mind begins to believe that it is possible, which can help reduce the physical symptoms of nerves, such as shaking.
Use deep breathing exercises
Deep breathing exercises are one of the most effective ways to calm your nerves and stop shaking when you’re nervous. Diaphragmatic breathing, also called belly breathing, is a great way to slow down your breathing and help you focus on the present moment.
To do diaphragmatic breathing:
- Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
- Place one hand on your stomach, just below your rib cage.
- Breathe slowly through your nose, allowing your stomach to expand as you fill your lungs with air.
- Breathe slowly through your mouth, letting your stomach fall back towards your spine as you empty your lungs.
- Repeat this for 5-10 minutes or until you feel yourself starting to relax.
- Use positive affirmations
- Tell yourself that you are going to do great. Say it out loud to yourself in the mirror every day. The more you tell yourself that you can do it, the more your brain will believe it.
Use positive body language.
Stand up straight, make eye contact, and smile. These simple things will make you look and feel more confident.
Practice deep breathing.
Practice taking deep breaths from your stomach to help you relax. When we get nervous, we tend to take shallow breaths. This can make us feel even more anxious.
When your brain perceives a threat, it will signal your body to release adrenaline. This “fight-or-flight” response is designed to help you deal with the perceived threat, but it can also cause physical reactions like shaking, sweating, and an increased heart rate. While these reactions can be helpful in some situations, they can also be debilitating if you’re trying to give a presentation or speak in public.
There are a few things you can do to try to calm your nerves and stop shaking when public speaking:
-progressive muscle relaxation