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How to stop my voice from shaking when public speaking
April 10, 2022
How to stop my voice from shaking when public speaking? It’s a common question, since almost everybody gets nervous from public speaking. In fact, fear of public speaking is so common that some people are actually more afraid of public speaking than death! Learn more on how to become a fearless speaker.
So, if you have trouble with your voice shaking during public speaking, you’re not alone. Plenty of people have run in to the same problem, and there are lots of helpful tips for dealing with it. There’s a good chance that many of the best speakers you’ve heard used to deal with this problem, too.
How To Stop My Voice From Shaking When Public Speaking
We’re going to teach you how to keep your voice nice and steady when speaking in public, but first let’s take a look at why your voice is shaking. There are actual, physical explanations for this and it’s really helpful to understand them. You’ll need to know these causes in order to know how to stop my voice from shaking when public speaking.
Tension Causes Shaking Voice When Public Speaking
When you’re nervous, you tense your muscles. Tense muscles start to shake if they’re tense for too long. We don’t usually think about it this way, but your voice is a product of your muscles. Specifically, it’s a product of the muscles that work your vocal cords.
But it’s not just those specific muscles. Tremors anywhere in your body will produce tremors in your voice. Think about how your voice sounds when you’re shivering from the cold. Your voice shivers, too. Your body has a much bigger effect on your voice than you normally realize.
So, if a tense, shaking body produces a tense, shaking voice, then the opposite is also true. A relaxed body produces a relaxed voice. So, one of the keys to stopping your voice from shaking when public speaking is to relax your body.
Bad Breath Support Causes Shaking Voice When Public Speaking
The way you breathe is important. You use your breath to speak, so to do public speaking well you might have to learn how to breathe properly. Think of it like this: your breath is what powers your voice.
It’s like the fuel your body uses to speak. If the power source is weak and unstable, the voice is going to be weak and unstable. You need a strong, steady outflow of breath to stop your voice from shaking.
One simple trick is to breath with your stomach. The next time you take a breath, don’t raise your chest- expand your stomach instead. Keep your chest still while you expand your belly to draw breath in, and contract your belly to let breath out.
This is how opera singers breathe during a performance to keep their voice nice, steady, and loud. It lets you take much deeper breaths, so you have a lot more air coming out when you speak.
Not Engaging Your Topic Causes Your Voice To Shake While Public Speaking
If your voice always shakes when public speaking, you might not be engaging with your topic. If you’re too nervous or reserved when public speaking, you don’t use your voice to it’s full potential. One of the easiest ways to fix a shaking voice during public speaking is to engage with your topic.
That means you need to be truly fascinated by your topic, and passionate about it. When you’re passionate about your topic, it’s actually very hard to be nervous or reserved when you’re speaking about it. You’ll have a natural level of energy and excited that’s going to lead to a much steadier voice.
One Easy Trick That Stops Your Voice From Shaking When Public Speaking
Now that you know a bit about why your voice shakes while you’re public speaking, it’s time to do something about it. Improving your breath and engaging with your topic are pretty simple for most people, but that doesn’t always help with the tension in your body.
So, even if you’ve learned how to breathe better and you’re speaking with passion, the tension in your body might still be causing your voice to shake while public speaking. Learning to relax tense muscles may seem impossible, but there’s a simple fix.
How to Relax The Muscles Around Your Vocal Cords
A shaking voice is usually caused by the tension in the muscles controlling your vocal cords. These muscles naturally tense up and contract when you’re nervous. It’s actually part of your body’s natural defenses.
Your vocal cords aren’t just for speaking, they also prevent you from inhaling water when you drink, or food when you eat. They cover the entrance to your lungs and prevent anything but air from getting in. So, naturally, when you’re nervous, the muscles around them tighten up, to make sure that whatever happens, only air goes in your lungs.
If you need to stop your voice from shaking, you need to relax those muscles. And there’s a nice, easy way to do this. Hold your index finger a few inches in front of your mouth, and say “wooooooooooooo”. Basically, make the same noise that little kids make when they’re pretending to be a ghost.
Make that sound for about 10 seconds, and then repeat it 5-10 times. Doing this actually relaxes your vocal cords and establishes a nice, steady flow of breath. It’s guaranteed to improve your speaking voice.
How To Stop My Voice From Shaking When Public Speaking With Breath Exercises
Since proper breathing is one of the keys to stopping your voice from shaking when public speaking, you need to learn how to breathe right. We’ve already talked about this a little bit, but it’s good to learn some basic breath exercises that will help you.
When you’re nervous, you tend to take quick, shallow breaths. Unfortunately, when you’re public speaking, you need to take slow, deep breaths. So if public speaking makes you nervous, you’re going to have to force yourself to slow down your breathing.
Here’s a good trick to slow down your breathing, lower your heart rate, and calm yourself down. First, breathe in through your nose for four seconds. Then, hold your breath for four seconds. Next, breath out through your mouth for four seconds. Hold your breath for four seconds before starting the process over again.
Do that at least two times in a row, and you’ll notice that your heartbeat will slow down, your mind will clear, and your breathing will stay slow and steady. It’s a good exercise to practice daily, to get in the habit of taking slow, deep breaths. It’s also a really good exercise to use right before you go on stage to speak, since it can help get rid of any last minute nerves.
Breathing From Your Stomach Helps Stop Your Voice From Shaking When Public Speaking
We’ve mentioned this already, but it’s going to be helpful for you if we dive a bit deeper. Most of the time, when we breathe, we take shallow breaths. We’re breathing from our chests, and as our lungs expand, so does our rib cage. You can see our chests rise and fall with each breath.
What if we told you that’s the wrong way to breath? Scientists have started to pay more attention to this in recent years, and they’re becoming convinced that somehow, we’ve all started breathing the wrong way.
Next time you take a deep breath, place one hand on your chest, and the other on your stomach. Notice which hand is moving- if the hand on your chest is moving, you’re breathing wrong. You want the hand on your chest to be still, while the hand on your stomach moves with each breath.
When we’re children, that’s how we breathe, and somehow as we grow older we develop bad habits. Look at animals- when you see a dog breath, their chest doesn’t move- only their sides and their stomach.
This is called breathing with your diaphragm- the muscle that sits right below your lungs. Proper breathing is all about using your diaphragm to allow your lungs to expand fully, and take deep breaths.
The diaphragm is an involuntary muscle, meaning you can’t really control it. What you can do is focus on taking slow, deep breaths without moving your chest. Try this for a few minutes every day and soon you’ll be breathing with your diaphragm all the time.
How To Stop My Voice From Shaking When Public Speaking By Addressing The Root Of The Problem
If you’ve tried all of these solutions and your voice is still shaking when you’re public speaking, you might want to take a look at your body language. Posture and body language are much more important than most people realize.
How Your Posture Affects Your Breath
One of the reasons why we develop bad breathing habits as adults is that we develop bad posture. If you’re sitting or standing with slumped shoulders, hunched over, you simply can’t breathe from your diaphragm.
That’s because there’s no room for it to expand. You have to breath from your chest, because everything below your chest is getting squished together. So you take shallow breaths.
By consciously sitting and standing straighter, with your shoulders back and your chest raised, you make it mush easier to breathe with your diaphragm. Go look at yourself in a mirror while you try this. Notice how much your naturally slump your shoulders forward and hunch your back.
Now, also notice how when you stand straight, shoulders back, chest out, you also look a lot better. You appear confident, strong, and bold. Your posture doesn’t just affect how your breath- when you stand like this you’re communicating to your audience that you know what you’re talking about, and you deserve their full attention.
Relax Before Your Presentation To Stop Your Voice From Shaking
None of these tips are going to be very helpful if you’ve been a nervous wreck for days before your presentation. You need to be able to relax before you’re public speaking if you want to be relaxed while you’re public speaking.
Prepare to Relax
One of the most important things you can do to help yourself relax before public speaking is to prepare for your presentation. It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how under prepared most speakers really are.
Don’t just practice your presentation once or twice, practice it dozens of times. Practice until you don’t need to look at your notes. Practice until you can rehearse the whole thing in your head- then start doing exactly that. Rehearse the presentation in your head while you’re walking the dog, taking a shower, etc.
The more you’ve prepared and practiced, the less nervous you’ll be. Plus, the more you’ve prepared, the better you’ll be. The best speakers are always the ones who are the best prepared. It’s a win-win. You’ll stop your voice from shaking, and your presentation will be great.
Don’t Use A Script
This may sound like a contradiction to the last point, but it’s not. A script will make you more nervous. You’ll obsess over making sure to remember each sentence; every little word or phrase you’ve written will seem too important to miss.
Instead, structure your presentation around the key points you want to make, and don’t bother with a script. This might seem scary at first, but you’ll find very quickly that it actually helps you relax more. You know your key points- and it’s easier to memorize three key points than a whole script.
Since you know the points you want to make, and you know why you want to make them, you’ll also know everything else that you need to say. As long as you practice enough, you won’t have any trouble delivering a great presentation.
Know The Venue
A very underrated tip from great speakers is to practice your speech in the venue you’re going to be speaking in. This is one of the best ways to settle your nerves and stop your voice from shaking. You can practice your speech right on the very stage you’ll be presenting it to the audience. You’ll get a feel for how your voice sounds in that space.
You’ll learn the feel of the room, and of the stage. It’s hard to put into words why this matters, but it really does. If you have to walk onto a stage you’ve never stood on before, in an unfamiliar room, and give a speech, it’s going to make you nervous.
Walking onto a familiar stage, in a familiar room, is much better. You’ll feel more at home, so you’ll be more relaxed and your voice won’t be shaking.
Sleep Well To Stop Your Voice From Shaking When Public Speaking
It turns out that you really can’t overstate the importance of a good night’s sleep. Bad sleep habits can affect pretty much every part of your life, and that includes public speaking.
If you aren’t sleeping well, you can’t possibly prepare as well as you should. That’s because you won’t be able to focus on your work, and your memory will be impaired. So you’re not going to be prepared, which means you’ll be more nervous.
And when you’re more nervous, your throat tightens up and your voice will be shaking. So, make sure you’re sleeping well. This is good advice in general, but you should especially be sure to get a good nights sleep the night before your presentation.
That may be difficult if your nervous, so go to bed extra early to help compensate for any difficulty in falling asleep.
Long Term Solution To Stop My Voice From Shaking When Public Speaking
What we’ve given you so far are short term fixes to help stop your voice from shaking when public speaking. You can use these tips and tricks to help settle yourself down and speak with confidence, even you have a presentation in the next 10 minutes.
But there’s also a long term solution you can use that will probably make all of these short-term fixes redundant. The reason your voice shakes when you’re public speaking is adrenaline. You’re nervous, so your body starts producing adrenaline.
Adrenaline tenses you up, makes it hard to sleep, and causes the shaking in your voice. So, you need to get your body to stop producing adrenaline.
Ignore the Self Doubt
If you stop and think about it, the reason you get so nervous about public speaking is because of the internal voices in your head, telling you you’re going to mess up. You convince yourself that you’re going to be a bad speaker, or you’re going to embarrass yourself.
So, you have to learn to tune out the voices of self-doubt. Ignore them. Because if you listen to them it’s nothing but a self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, they won’t be right if you just ignore them.
The Audience Is On Your Side
One way to help yourself learn to ignore those internal voices is realize one very simple, important truth: the audience is on your side. Nobody listening to you is rooting for you to fail. They want you to succeed. They want to hear a good presentation, and they want you to do a good job.
They’re predisposed to like you, and to enjoy your presentation. They don’t doubt you- they aren’t the enemy. They want to cheer for you.
Experience Fixes The Problem
Ultimately, what’s going to help you the most is experience. The more public speaking you do, the less nervous you’ll be. It’s a lot easier to tune out the voices of self-doubt when you know from experience that you can give a presentation without your voice shaking.
It’s a lot easier to believe that the audience is on your side when you’ve got a bunch of successful speeches under your belt. So, the best thing you can do to stop your voice from shaking when public speaking is to do a lot of public speaking.
Take every opportunity you can to do public speaking. The more you do it, the better you’ll be, and the less nervous you’ll be. The less nervous you are, the less your voice will shake.
And, it helps if each speaking in engagement happens soon after the last one. Don’t wait six months between presentations, try to do one a week, or two a month. The more often you do them, the better. It forces you to get really good at preparing for a speech, and it doesn’t really give you much time to be nervous.
We’ve given you our best tips on how to stop my voice from shaking when public speaking. With these, you should be able to start speaking with a steady, clear voice immediately, while also improving your speaking ability in the long run.