Controlling Nervousness for Public Speaking

Did you know that public speaking is thought to be as stressful as divorce?? Yikes!

And yet, it is one of the most important professional skills that leaders can have. So how can we calm our nerves, reduce our stress and succeed as public speakers?

Last week, we welcomed back Arden Clise, the Pacific Northwest’s resident expert in business etiquette, to share her secrets for getting more comfortable with public speaking. Here are Arden’s top 10 ways to control nervousness:

  1. Know the room – Arrive early to check out the room, the microphone, and lectern. Practice using your visual aids before the presentation begins.
  2. Know the audience – To whom are you speaking? What are they expecting to hear?
  3. Know your material – Practice, practice, practice!
  4. Breathe – Put your hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose and feel your belly expand. Exhale through your mouth as your belly empties. Do this 10 times.
  5. Do physical exercises – Hold the Power Pose: put your hands on your hips with your legs wide and hold for at least 30 seconds, up to 2 minutes. Or get your blood moving – shake your arms and hands to a count of 20 (they should be tingling), do some head rolls, practice shoulder rolls.
  6. Visualize yourself giving a successful speech.
  7. Perfect your opening and closing lines – Memorize both, but have them printed in front of you just in case. Keep bulleted notes at the ready for the rest of your speech.
  8. Realize people want you to succeed.
  9. Turn nervousness into positive energy.
  10. Gain experience.

Want to see the full page of public speaking tips from Arden’s presentation? Email Megan:

Tips Courtesy of Arden Clise
Business Etiquette Speaker, Trainer, Coach and Author
Arden’s new book Spinach in Your Boss’s Teeth: Essential Etiquette for Professional Success will be available on Amazon on April 20.
To receive semi-monthly etiquette tips click here or visit

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