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If You Are Not Nervous in Public Speaking, Then I Am

Nancy Daniels, Voice Coach


M
any years ago when I first started my business, one of my clients, a woman billing herself as a professional speaker, was quite adamant in her disagreement with me about nervousness. She said that she was never nervous making a presentation and did not think nervousness was good. Had I been quick, I would have said to her, “Your lack of nervousness may be the reason you have had only four invitations to speak in the last two years!”


I love nervousness because it is that rush of adrenaline that can give you an edge, sharpening your focus and allowing you to take your speech or your presentation to an entirely new level.

My concern is with those few people who tell me that they are not nervous or excited about public speaking. Lack of nervousness is similar to the rehearsal of your presentation in your living room or your office. Because you are minus an audience, your delivery will not be exactly the same as it will be in front of others.

I love nervousness because it is that rush of adrenaline that can give you an edge, sharpening your focus and allowing you to take your speech or your presentation to an entirely new level.
You can never be that confident in a live performance. You do not know how your audience will respond to you – you do not know that the joke you tell may not be funny to a particular group of people – you do not know that you won’t forget or lose your train of thought. It is this unknown, as well as the fear of looking foolish, which makes your heart race unmercifully, your palms sweaty, your knees wobbly, or your voice quiver.

If you are not nervous, then I don’t want to listen to you because your delivery will most likely be ‘canned’ or rote and you will not be talking to me but instead you will talking at me.

Public speaking is a form of communication which is often not considered by the speaker. Your audience’s reaction to you is part of the communication, part of the conversation. If you are that self-assured than I doubt your delivery will be interesting or exciting to your audience.
It is this unknown which makes your heart race unmercifully, your palms sweaty, your knees wobbly, or your voice quiver.


Part of good public speaking is the enthusiasm you express as the speaker but, as importantly, the enthusiasm you create in your audience. That can only be achieved when you don’t know what will happen. Being overly confident or lacking in nervous energy does not allow for the unknown.

Count your blessings if you experience some form of nervousness or adrenaline rush in public speaking. If you don’t, however, it might be an idea to start talking to your audience and not at them. Allow for the communication on both ends. It will make for a much more effective and enjoyable experience for you as well as your audience.
Your audience’s reaction to you is part of the communication, part of the conversation.




International Speaker and Voice Specialist, Nancy Daniels, has been involved in voice training since 1977. A graduate of Gettysburg College with a BA in music, she discovered the techniques for improving the sound of the speaking voice while in graduate school at American University in Washington, D.C.

In addition to her guest speaking engagements, Nancy offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice training and public speaking skills throughout the United States and Canada. For those are unable to work with
her directly, there is Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement.





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Public Speaking Tips online
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