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Overcoming Nervousness in Public Speaking Rae Stonehouse VP Education for Kelowna Flying Solo Toastmasters presented this list as an Educational Moment at a club meeting.

Preamble: Many people join Toastmasters to overcome their fear or nervousness of speaking in public. We have an expression that we use quite often in Toastmasters when it comes to dealing with the "butterflies."

A certain amount of nervousness is a good thing when it comes to speaking in public. If you aren't excited about your topic, then who would be? The trick as we say is "to get those butterflies flying in formation."

The following list is excerpted from Secrets of P-O-W-E-R Presentations by Peter Urs Bender, an excellent resource book that should still be available for purchase. 

The idea behind sharing this list is so that you can recognize in yourself and others what nervousness looks like. Once you are able to identify the signs & symptoms you are able to work on reducing the effect of individual ones in yourself and with the help of your fellow Toastmasters club members, incrementally increase your self confidence.

  • Hands in pockets
  • Decreased blinking of the eyes
  •  Failure to make eye contact
  • Looking at the floor
  • Shaking legs
  • Licking and biting of the lips
  • Clenching teeth
  • Finger tapping
  • Jittery hands
  • Fist clenching
  • Faster, jerkier gestures
  • Sweaty hands and armpits
  • Cracking voice
  • Increased rate of speech
  • Clearing of the throat
  • Pulling at skin
  • Frequent smoothing of hair
  • Standing on sides of feet rather than flat on floor
  • Toes wiggling
  • Dry mouth
  • Buttocks clamped tightly together

Excerpted from Secrets of P-O-W-E-R Presentations by Peter Urs Bender

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