While I believe there are 5 things you must do to gain control of your nervousness and actually put it to good use, the most important of those 5 is something many people do not do and never think to do. To make matters worse, the only time many speakers are aware of it is when they have totally run of out it.
I am talking about breathing – remembering to breathe as well as remembering to supplement your air supply before you run out of it. Breathlessness, excessive speed, and trailing off at the end of the sentence are most likely the result of not having enough air. The problem for many people is that they wait until they are totally spent and then have to gasp for another huge quantity of that much needed oxygen which results in more tension and increased nervousness.
In addition, the type of respiration most people use is known in the medical community as shallow or lazy breathing. This type of breathing does not allow for the elimination of the toxins in your blood because you are not taking the air all the way down to your diaphragm, a muscular partition separating your chest from your abdomen. The sole purpose of the diaphragm is to support breathing. To find this muscle, place your hands under your rib cage and cough. Did you feel it kick out?
Because you must employ diaphragmatic breathing in order to rid your body of those nasty toxins, your shallow or lazy breathing actually increases the toxins which produce more stress, more anxiety. Once you learn to breathe with support, however, you will discover not only the best means of controlling your nervousness in public speaking, but a reduction in the stress in your life.
Today, stress is a symptom of most people’s lives. You can’t avoid it; however, you can improve how stress affects your life simply by breathing. Why do people do yoga or medicate? In order to lessen their stress. Instead of doing it for 20, 40, or 60 minutes at a time, why not do it 24 hours a day! The changes you will discover in your life are unbelievable. But for the public speaker, the greatest change is that you will be able to address your audience more effectively by taking that deep breath before you begin as well as during your entire presentation.
I guarantee that if you want control over your nervousness, allowing it to work for you and not against you, learn to breathe with this support. In truth, I want you nervous because the adrenaline rush can take your presentation to heights unknown. The secret is learning to conquer those jitters and putting them to good use. Yes, you will be nervous but your audience will not see it nor will they hear it.
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.