Calmfidence® Daily - 3 Ways to Manage Public Speaking Nerves


So many of my clients speak about those first few excruciating moments just prior to a presentation. They dread this time because of their body’s reactions: a racing heart and mind. But once they get past those first few moments, they begin to feel level as their body adjusts. I was discussing this with a potential client over the phone when I was suddenly struck with the analogy of a rocket launch. Think of all the pressure, burning hot fuel, smoke and effort that take place on a launching pad so a rocket can lift off.  It can't get off the ground without it. But once that rocket lifts off  and enters space it floats calmly, and the pressure is gone. 

In the case of public speaking, if we don’t do it often, we can dread it, fight it, and tell ourselves we shouldn’t be feeling all this pressure, energy, or physical and emotional reactions. Why do we think that? After all, it’s part of the territory. Let’s allow ourselves to be okay with feeling uncomfortable. It’s an important part of a successful launch into a journey that we are taking with our audience. Let’s give ourselves permission to trust ourselves as the captains of the ship when we are in front of the room, about to take the audience on an incredible ride, knowing that these feelings are part of the thrill of it all.

But how do we get to that point? 

First, realize that the adrenaline makes you sharp, and gives you the ability to be powerful and dynamic in front of a group of other human beings.

Second, keep in mind that no matter how nervous you are, generally once you get past the first 20 seconds you will level out and feel better. So, commit to being courageous for just 20 seconds -- most anyone can do that. Also keep in mind that the audience generally cannot detect your level of nervousness to the degree you are feeling it internally. 

Third, start to label these nervous feelings differently. Associate them with the idea that something exciting is about to happen. You have the opportunity to help others in some way. Ask any seasoned speaker and they’ll tell you that once they started getting desensitized to those excited butterflies, they needed to look for ways to get themselves energized before a speech so they wouldn’t come across lackluster. It’s the same reason that some athletes and adventurers up the ante and turn to more extreme sports over time. They get used to the rush and need to find a new one. 

That rush prepares your body and mind to handle the task in front of you if you understand and embrace its power. Adrenaline is our hormonal superpower. It’s nitro for our engine. It heightens and maximizes all our senses. It’s super cool. We’ve all heard the story of a mother who is suddenly able to lift up a car to pull her baby out of harm’s way. We’ve heard of heroic acts of saving others from danger that seem superhuman. That’s adrenaline. That’s the same liquid gold that’s running through your veins when you get that fight-or-flight feeling. If adrenaline has enabled a person to lift a 3000-pound car, that same power can be harnessed and used by you, not against you, to give you Calmfidence.  As my dear friend and mentor Dr. Thomas Nardi always says "just because you're nervous doesn't mean you're not going to do a good job." Lots of people still achieve great things in spite of their nerves.  

Just remember to breath. Inhale slowly, and exhale even slower - the release of nervous energy is in the exhale! Getting control of your breathing will help prevent that out of body feeling.  So the next time you're about to step into the spotlight and you feel that adrenaline kick in, don't think –Oh, no! I’m nervous and nervous is bad! Rather, tell yourself- Here comes my super-fuel! I can go the distance and take on the world!

Patricia Stark is a professional speaker, communication coach and trainer, and Author of Calmfidence - How to Trust Yourself, Tame Your Inner Critic, and Shine in Any SpotlightAvailable at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Audible, and your favorite bookstore. Order Your Copy Here

As President of Patricia Stark Communications and Calmfidence® Workshops she provides Personal & Professional Development coaching and training focusing on public speaking, media training, virtual presentation training, talent development, body language, emotional intelligence, stress & anxiety relief, and peak performance for Adults and Teens.

Patricia is a Certified Personal & Executive Coach (CPEC of the CaPP Institute -Coaching & Positive Psychology) & a Certified Body Language Trainer (Body Language Institute Washington DC) and holds certificates in Eclectic Cognitive Behavior Therapy & Visualization/Guided Imagery (LIU). 

For 1-1 and Group Training Sessions and Workshops Email: or Visit   For Speaking Engagements contact: The Haggar Agency-

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