CALL Speaks: Andres Cabrera (Guest Blogger)

How To Manage Nerves in Public Speaking

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Anxiety about speaking in public is one of the most common fears reported by adults and young adults. While some degree of anxiety is a normal and expected part of public speaking, presenting or otherwise “performing” in public, for many the anxiety is so intense that it interferes with their ability to function. Andres Cabrera, a Communication major at the ASU West Campus & CALL mentor, gives his readers’ insight on how to manage nerves in public speaking through the experiences he has faced:

“When heading into a presentation, the issue that arises in the minds of many public speakers is how to deal with the overwhelming nerves that consume them nearly every time when they present? They may say, ‘I have meticulously prepared for this presentation and I feel confident in what I am going to speak on, however, I simply cannot get a hold of my nerves. It is like I have no control over them.’ This is an issue that resounds with many public speakers but there is also another reason why I bring up this issue and that is because it is the one that I deal with the most. Every time I do present, I do have everything ready and I do feel confident yet nearly every one of those moments my nerves seem to wrangle me in a choke-hold when I head up to the podium for my speech. I ask myself why constantly, because I have no trepidation on what I am speaking on and yet I still fall victim to my overwhelming nerves. Recently however, it has occurred to me that maybe I cannot make my nerves disappear. That may sound pessimist or like I am giving up but that is not what it is at all. Ask an athlete if they feel nerves when they are about to compete, nearly every one of them will tell you that they do, yet does that take anything away from their performance? Most Olympic gold medalist is consumed in nerves yet they still end up victorious, why is this the case? It is not a matter of getting rid of your nerves because truthfully that may never be possible, but it is matters of not letting your nerves affect your performance. Control your nerves so that they may not overwhelm you by taking in deep breaths (as you may have seen athletes do before competing) but then focus on the result or the purpose of your speech. Remember that you may not get rid of your nerves but they should not be the factor that determines your success in a speech.”

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