September 7


Shake it Off: How to Stop Nervous Public Speaking Jitters?

By Joshua Turner

September 7, 2023

Public speaking can be nerve-wracking, and it’s not uncommon to experience shaking or trembling when you’re in front of a crowd. However, this physical response can be distracting and undermine your confidence, making it harder to deliver your message effectively.

Fortunately, you can use various techniques and strategies to manage your nervousness and stop shaking when you’re speaking in public.

One of the first steps to overcoming nervousness is to understand why it happens in the first place. Anxiety and fear trigger the body’s “fight or flight” response, which floods the body with adrenaline and other stress hormones.

This can cause physical symptoms like shaking, sweating, and a rapid heartbeat. By learning to recognize and manage these symptoms, you can regain control over your body and your nerves and deliver a confident and engaging speech.

Understanding Nervousness and Public Speaking

Many people find public speaking to be a terrifying experience. It’s natural to feel nervous when you’re in front of a crowd, but it can be difficult to manage those feelings of fear and anxiety. Performance anxiety, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder are all conditions that can make public speaking even more challenging.

It’s essential to understand that nervousness is a normal response to stress. When you’re in a high-pressure situation, your body releases adrenaline and other stress hormones that can cause physical symptoms like shaking, sweating, and a racing heart. These symptoms can be uncomfortable, but they’re not dangerous.

One of the biggest fears people have when it comes to public speaking is that they’ll make a mistake or forget what they’re supposed to say. It’s important to keep in mind that no one is perfect, and mistakes happen. If you do forget something, take a deep breath and try to move on. Your audience is likely to be more forgiving than you think.

Another way to manage nervousness is to practice. The more you practice your speech or presentation, the more comfortable you’ll feel when delivering it. You can also try relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help calm your nerves.

Overall, it’s critical to understand that nervousness is a normal part of public speaking. By understanding your fears and taking steps to manage them, you can become a more confident and effective speaker.

The Science Behind Shaking

Shaking is a common physical symptom of nervousness, especially when it comes to public speaking.


It occurs because of the fight or flight response activation in the body’s nervous system. When you feel nervous, your body releases adrenaline, which triggers a series of physiological changes, including increased heart rate, muscle tension, and shaking.


Muscles play a critical role in shaking. When your body releases adrenaline, it causes your muscles to contract, resulting in muscle tension. This tension can cause your body to shake involuntarily, especially in the extremities, such as the hands or legs.

Nervous System

The nervous system is also involved in shaking. When you feel nervous, your brain sends signals to your spinal cord, triggering the release of adrenaline.


This adrenaline then activates the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the fight-or-flight response. This response causes your body to prepare for action, leading to shaking and other physical symptoms.

Breathing Techniques for Calmness

One of the best ways to calm your nerves and stop shaking when public speaking is to focus on your breathing. By controlling your breath, you can regulate your heart rate and calm your mind.

Deep Breathing

Start by taking a deep breath through your nose, filling your lungs with air. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this process several times, focusing on the sensation of the air flowing in and out of your body.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Another effective breathing technique is diaphragmatic breathing. This involves taking deep breaths from your diaphragm rather than your chest. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach to do this.

As you inhale, push your stomach out, allowing your diaphragm to expand. As you exhale, contract your diaphragm and let your stomach fall.

4-7-8 Technique

To center yourself and calm your nerves before a speech, try the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, then exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat this cycle several times, focusing on the rhythm of your breath.

Deep breathing takes practice. Set aside some time each day to practice these techniques, and you’ll find that you’re better able to control your nerves and stop shaking when public speaking.

Practical Tips for Public Speaking

While public speaking can be anxiety-inducing, you can conquer your nerves and confidently deliver a successful presentation with proper preparation and a positive mindset. Here are some practical tips to help you:

  • Practice, Practice, Practice: The more you practice your presentation, the more confident you will feel. Practice in front of a mirror or record yourself to identify areas where you can improve.
  • Focus on Your Message: Keep your focus on the message you want to convey to your audience. This will help you stay on track and avoid getting sidetracked by your nerves.
  • Make Eye Contact: Making eye contact with your audience can help you connect with them and build trust. Look at different parts of the room to engage with everyone.
  • Breathe Deeply: Take deep breaths before you start speaking to help calm your nerves. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth.
  • Visualize Success: Visualize yourself delivering a successful presentation. This can help you build confidence and reduce anxiety.
  • Engage in One-on-One Conversations: Engage in one-on-one conversations with members of your audience before your presentation. This can help you build rapport and feel more comfortable in front of them.

Public speaking is a skill that can be learned and improved with practice. By following these tips, you can deliver a successful presentation and overcome your nerves.

Understanding and Managing Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural response to stress, fear, and pressure, and it can be a common experience when speaking in public. It’s essential to note that anxiety disorders are different from normal anxiety and can be more severe and long-lasting.


When experiencing anxiety, it’s essential to understand that it’s a normal reaction to a stressful situation. One way to manage anxiety is to practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. These techniques can help calm your mind and body, reducing anxiety and stress levels.

Another way to manage anxiety is to prepare thoroughly for your public speaking event. Practice your speech in front of a mirror or a friend, and make sure to know your material well. This preparation can help reduce anxiety and increase confidence.

If you experience severe anxiety or panic attacks when public speaking, it may be helpful to seek professional help. A therapist can help you manage your anxiety and develop coping strategies to help you feel more comfortable when speaking in public.

Anxiety is a normal response to stress and pressure, and it’s essential to understand and manage it when speaking in public. Relaxation techniques, thorough preparation, and seeking professional help can all effectively manage anxiety.

Professional Help for Nervousness

If you’re struggling with nervousness when public speaking, it may be time to seek professional help. There are several options available to help you manage your anxiety and improve your public speaking skills.


One option is therapy, which can involve cognitive behavioral therapy or talk therapy. These types of therapy can help you identify the root causes of your anxiety and develop strategies to manage it.

Consult A Doctor

Another option is to consult a doctor who can evaluate your symptoms and recommend necessary medications. However, medication should not be your only solution, and discussing the potential risks and benefits with your doctor is important.

Support Groups

Besides therapy and medication, support groups are available for individuals who struggle with anxiety and nervousness. These groups can provide a safe and supportive environment to discuss your experiences and learn from others.

Overall, seeking professional help can be valuable in managing your nervousness when public speaking. Understanding that everyone experiences anxiety differently is vital, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You can learn to manage your anxiety and become a confident public speaker with the right support and resources.

Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Nervousness

Making some lifestyle changes can help you reduce nervousness when public speaking. Here are some tips:

  • Exercise: Regular exercise can help you reduce stress and anxiety, which can lead to less nervousness when speaking in public. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, such as walking, running, or yoga.
  • Relaxation: Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation, can help you calm your nerves before public speaking. Take a few minutes to relax before your speech to reduce nervousness.
  • Caffeine: Avoid consuming too much caffeine before public speaking, as it can increase nervousness and anxiety. Instead, drink water or herbal tea to stay hydrated and calm.
  • Confidence: Building your confidence can help you reduce nervousness. Practice your speech in front of a mirror or with a friend, and focus on your strengths and accomplishments.

  • Nervous Energy: Use your nervous energy to your advantage by channeling it into enthusiasm and passion for your topic. Embrace your nerves and use them to fuel your performance.

By making these lifestyle changes, you can reduce nervousness and improve your public speaking skills.

Dealing with Shaky Voice

When you’re nervous, your voice can shake, making speaking difficult. This is because your vocal folds, which are responsible for producing sound, can become tense and vibrate uncontrollably. Here are some tips to help you deal with a shaky voice during public speaking:

  • Breathe deeply: Take a deep breath and exhale slowly to calm your nerves. This will help to relax your vocal folds and reduce shaking.
  • Speak slowly: Speaking too quickly can make your voice sound shaky. Slow down and take your time when speaking to give your vocal folds a chance to relax.
  • Warm up your voice: Before speaking, do some vocal warm-up exercises to help loosen your vocal folds. This can include humming, lip trills, and tongue twisters.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before speaking to keep your vocal folds hydrated. Dehydration can cause your voice to sound shaky and weak.
  • Use a microphone: If possible, use a microphone to amplify your voice. This can help to reduce the strain on your vocal folds and make it easier to speak clearly.

It’s normal to feel nervous when public speaking; a shaky voice is a common symptom. By following these tips, you can help reduce shaking and speak confidently.


Overcoming nervousness and conquering public speaking jitters is within your reach. By implementing the strategies and techniques outlined in this guide, you can transform your anxiety into confidence and deliver impactful speeches.

Prepare thoroughly, practice regularly, and utilize relaxation techniques to calm your nerves. Embrace the power of positive self-talk, visualization, and deep breathing to channel your energy into a dynamic and engaging presentation.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to embrace vulnerability and acknowledge that nervousness is a natural part of the process. With persistence and a growth mindset, you can shake off those jitters and unlock your true potential as a powerful and influential public speaker. So, step onto that stage with poise, connect with your audience, and share your message with unwavering conviction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How can I control my shaking when speaking in public?

Controlling shaking when speaking in public can be challenging, but there are techniques you can use to help. Try taking deep breaths, focusing on your breathing, and relaxing your muscles. You can also try visualizing a successful speech or using positive self-talk to boost your confidence.

Q. What are some techniques to calm my nerves before public speaking?

You can use several techniques to calm your nerves before public speaking. Try practicing your speech in front of a mirror or a friend, doing some light exercise, or listening to calming music. You can also try mindfulness meditation or progressive muscle relaxation techniques to help you relax.

Q. What are some physical exercises to reduce shaking during public speaking?

Physical exercises can help reduce shaking during public speaking. Try doing some simple stretches or yoga poses to help loosen up your muscles. You can also try practicing your speech while standing or walking around to help you feel more comfortable and confident.

Q. How can I prepare myself mentally for public speaking to reduce shaking?

Preparing yourself mentally for public speaking can help reduce shaking and anxiety. Try visualizing a successful speech, practicing positive self-talk, and focusing on your strengths and accomplishments. You can also try reframing your thoughts and emotions in a more positive light to help you feel more confident and in control.

Q. What are some ways to distract myself from nervousness during public speaking?

Distracting yourself from nervousness during public speaking can be helpful. Try focusing on your breathing, visualizing a calming scene, or using humor to lighten the mood. You can also try engaging with your audience by asking questions or telling stories to help you feel more connected and engaged.

Q. How can I improve my public speaking skills to reduce shaking and anxiety?

Improving your public speaking skills can help reduce shaking and anxiety. Try practicing your speech in front of a mirror or a friend, joining a public speaking group or club, or taking a public speaking course. You can also try watching videos of successful speakers or reading books on public speaking to learn new techniques and strategies.

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