Yes, I want you nervous for your upcoming speech or presentation because nervousness is good. I do not want your audience to see it however.

Great public speakers are nervous. As many times as they have spoken, as many times as they have delivered the same presentation over and over, their adrenaline is in high gear when they enter the stage.

One of the reasons for their nervousness is because they appreciate that public speaking is a live venue and, in that respect, is similar to actors performing on stage, musicians giving a concert, and athletes playing a sport. Whereas with film, one can easily edit the material or do the scene again, such is not the case in live performances, be it on a stage or in a hockey rink or on a football field.

The secret to how the professionals deal with their nervous jitters is that they take control of that wonderful rush of adrenaline and put it to good use. Yes, they may be nervous, agitated, invigorated or even scared, but their audience or their fans are not aware of it.

That is what I would want for you the next time you are presenting. Accept that fact that you will be nervous and learn how to take control of it.

While I am a strong advocate of knowing your material inside and out and addressing your audience just as if you were having a conversation, the one thing that is often overlooked by those who teach presentation skills is the single most important thing you can do to take hold of that adrenaline and run with it.

It is known as breathing, specifically, breathing with the support of your diaphragm. Taking in air – filling the lungs – is the one thing novice speakers often do not do and never think to do. And, it is the one thing the novice speakers often have little of. This is why breathlessness is such a big problem in public speaking.

Breathing with the support of your diaphragm is truly the best means of controlling your nervousness because it helps relax your body. For many standing at the lectern, a relaxed body is not happening. Instead the audience can see their discomfort as they stand there with knees wobbling, hands shaking, lips quivering, and perspiration lining their brow.

Shallow or lazy breathing, which is typical of 99% of the population, increases your stress because it does not allow for the elimination of the toxins in the blood. Deep, supported breathing, on the other hand, rids your body of those toxins which thereby decreases your stress. In fact, it is the first thing you are told to do if you are having a panic attack.

Learn to breathe correctly, do it during your presentation, and I guarantee that your audience will never ‘see you sweat.’

Author's Bio: 

The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, group and corporate training in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit her website at Voice Dynamic and watch as Nancy describes the best means of controlling nervousness in any form of public speaking.

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