Nerves and public speaking


On the weekend we attended a birthday party where there were some excellent speeches.

It is normal to be anxious before giving a talk or making a speech. Using this nervous energy is the key to being natural and engaging. At a 50th birthday party at the weekend we heard some excellent speeches.

It is a order Paxil great pity that we miss out on the wisdom of many people because their anxiety prevents them from sharing it before a crowd.

The most important part of public speaking is being prepared. I’m in awe of people who can get up before a crowd and speak completely off the cuff. Some politicans I’ve seen are excellent at this (Tony Abbott is very good, and I suspect Julia Gillard is also). School teachers are also excellent at speaking without much notice. For us lesser mortals, the key to giving a good speech is preparation.

At our workshops, I’ve seen some professional speakers give wonderfully engaging, funny and informative talks – and they appear to be making it up as they go along. When we get them back at subsequent workshops, they give the same ‘impromptu’ talk – word for word, pause for pause, gesture for gesture. Preparation.

Garr Reynolds, our friend from Presentation Zen, has a post this week on ‘Dealing with Public Speaking Nerves‘. He includes five tips from Les Posen, a Melbourne based psychologist who has his own blog called ‘Presentation Magic‘. 

Les’s tip are:

1. Chunking and exposure.

Break your talk into small parts.


2. Rehearsal.

Visualise yourself wowing the crowd as you practice


3. Self-talk.

“I can do this”.


4. Arousal control via diaphragmatic breathing.

Slow, where to buy levonorgestrel deep breaths.


5. Deliberate practice.

Practice the beginning, ending and other key parts of the talk.

You can read more about Les’s tips at Presentation Zen

I look forward to seeing and hearing your next ‘tour de force’.

PS. I suspect some of buy premarin the nerves of the speakers at the birthday party we attended were quelled using a very traditional liquid remedy (or two). Moderation is the key to this particular cure.

Similar Posts

One Response to “Nerves and public speaking”

  1. April 27th, 2011 | 8:27 am

    Tony, you mention that preparation is the key. I must reflect on a experience I had at last year sitting next to you whilst you were waiting to address the audience.

    I recall you were furiously Googling for images and restructuring your presentation many times. Is this what you call preparation? 🙂

    I recently had the same experience in which I prepared a presentation 2 weeks out from my gig, however on the morning of the event I rewrote/restructured/regurgitated 5 times before I came up with what I was happy with. The pressure of time forced the outcome.

    I used to to the same in my undergrad days in which I wouldn’t cut code until the night before the assignment was due. With many litres of coke and the occasional no dose, I’d work through the night to get it submitted on time. I usually scored substantially higher than the guys who’d worked for weeks on their code changing it many times on the journey. I suppose it was an early version of Agile programing 🙂

    Thanks for the blog,

    the Agile Presenter

Leave a reply