How to Keep Your Heart from Racing When Public Speaking

It’s typical to experience some performance anxiety just before a big presentation. Of course, you want to avoid experiencing acute stress, which manifests physically and mentally as sweaty palms, a dry mouth, and a quicker heartbeat. It is significant to know how to stop heart racing when public speaking and implement it in real life.

Conversing vs public speaking 

You are an excellent speaker already. Every day, you deliver engaging presentations.

Consider how frequently you are able to effectively convey your views to friends, coworkers, or other acquaintances. You raise an easy point. You use words that they comprehend and with which they can identify. Your responses to their objections are convincing. You end by getting their agreement to carry out your final request. You just used some really effective speech-making techniques.

“All the great speakers were bad speakers at first.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Then you are invited to give a talk to the group on a subject you are knowledgeable about. (If not, why were you asked to speak?) You experience extreme fear. When it comes to “public speaking,” you think very differently than when it comes to “everyday interactions.” Why? You’re afraid because you feel as though you lack communication skills. You believe that you have nothing noteworthy to say. You believe that you are unable to express yourself clearly. You anticipate that the audience won’t agree with you. You believe the audience will disapprove of both your views and who you are as a person. You doubt your ability to influence people.

Symptoms of a racing heart while public speaking 

1. Mindset 

The things we say ourselves affect how we feel; these are called critical or negative thoughts in our heads. They make you worry about giving your impending presentation. “You’re stupid!” “You’re not good enough!” or “You’re boring!” are some of the common things that different people’s negative thoughts will tell you. It’s critical to understand how these voices are attempting to assist you before simply ignoring them and replacing them with more motivating, helpful and optimistic voices.

Your heart rate increases as a result of those pesky negative voices making you feel afraid, which might start a “downward cycle” in which one thing leads to another and the situation descends into chaos. A self-fulfilling prophecy occurs when your heart rate rises, you start to fear that you’re coming across as anxious, and eventually you seem worried and sound tense.

how to stop heart racing when public speaking

2. Body language 

Not everyone is aware that your body language affects your thought process and that your thought process affects your body language. You have the best chance of having a positive mindset, which will come through in your breathing and voice when you are standing properly with a good presenter stance where you are upright, shoulders are back, and your head is high.

Read this article for more useful insights: 10 tell-tale signs of nervous body language (And what you can do about it)

3. Breathing 

You may be breathing too quickly when your heart is racing and you are anxious before giving a presentation. Instead of using their diaphragm to breathe, the majority of individuals in the western world breathe from their upper chest, which causes their shoulders to move up and down as they do.

Tips for breathing properly when exercising:

  • Breathe in deeply, and then exhale slowly.
  • Did you notice if your shoulders rose toward your ears before falling back down?
  • If so, your breathing technique is faulty, and you are inhaling shallowly. The movement of your stomach should indicate that you are breathing properly.
breathe for how to stop heart racing when public speaking

4. Voice 

Once you’ve mastered the proper breathing technique, you can concentrate on relaxing your voice and speaking effectively.

How to stop your heart from racing when public speaking?

1. Quick heartbeat

You’re positive that everyone in the room can hear your heart hammering because it is thumping so quickly and loudly. Relax. Your heartbeat can only be heard by you. Your heart rate is elevated due to the effects of adrenaline and other substances. Deeply inhale and exhale slowly. Focus on what you’re saying. For a little while, concentrate on a familiar audience member. As you get fully engaged in your presentation, your pulse rate will begin to slow.

Utilize a heart-rate reducing method before a stressful situation. Box breathing is the name of the method.

Start by taking a leisurely, four-count inhalation. Next, exhale slowly for four seconds. Finally, take four seconds to exhale through your mouth. Your pulse rate will start to slow down and your entire body will start to relax after three or four repetitions of the procedure.

2. Shaky hands or legs

You feel self-conscious because one of your hands or legs is shaking. Everyone who witnesses it is aware of your fear. You really feel like a coward. Relax. Breathe deeply and slowly many times. The shaking muscle contracts and then release. Again, erratic breathing has interrupted your blood circulation while adrenaline and other substances have provided more energy than your body requires.

To stop your leg from shaking, shift your weight to your feet. Make broad hand movements with your arms and hands moving. While relaxing your other fingers, join and press your thumb and index finger to the trembling hand. Ten seconds of holding the joined fingers together, followed by a hand release. Then do it again if necessary. The trembling will end as a result of your breathing and tension-relaxation techniques.

3. Voice trembling or crackling

Your voice starts to tremble or crack as you talk. You’re ashamed by how weak your voice sounds. How do you go on? What ought you to do? Simply said, this issue is brought on by erratic breathing. By slowing down your speech and taking control of your breathing, you can quickly get rid of a trembling or cracking voice. Pay attention to a solace-seeking audience member. Continue speaking slowly, taking deep breaths, and lowering the pitch of your voice.

4. Mouth ache

It feels like there is cotton in your mouth. Your speech is slurred and your lips clench together. You worry that your slur will make it difficult for the audience to comprehend you. The old adrenaline issue is back! Your mouth is losing moisture due to the adrenaline. Stop and get a drink of water if you can. Before swallowing, keep it in your mouth for a short while. Take a brief moment to unwind. Inhale to unwind. If you are unable to swallow, take a moment to gather saliva in your mouth and hold it there for a few seconds. You can reduce the likelihood of this by chewing gum or inhaling a mint before you speak.

5. Perspiration

Your upper lip and forehead are feeling wet. This makes you feel quite self-conscious, and your humiliation is escalating. Your quick heartbeat, which boosts body warmth, is likely the source of your perspiration. However, it could just be that the place is warm. Try as much as you can to ignore it. Continue speaking after quickly wiping your forehead and top lip with a handkerchief.

6. Flushing

Your neck and face appear to be developing measles symptoms. Since everything is red, it is obvious that you are afraid. These red blotches are brought on by adrenaline’s erratic blood flow to your skin’s outer layers. Most often, women experience this. Once it begins, there is typically no way to stop it other than to unwind and let the adrenaline rush pass more slowly.

7. Put your inner critic to rest

Our own worst critics are us. The constant negative thoughts that race through our heads all day are crippling and harmful. While you should make every effort to replace negative self-talk with positive ones, the few minutes prior to a presentation are particularly crucial. During that time, you must completely shut down your inner critic.

Put your inner critic to rest. You may always call him back later if you need to, but you must never let the critic control your valuable thoughts before it’s your day to shine.

Avoid any self-critical ideas, such as:

  • I’m not very good at speaking.
  • I should have put in more practice.
  • I made a mistake before, and I’ll make another.
  • You should be telling yourself: I can’t wait to tell everyone about my idea.
  • I feel content and assured.
  • I’m equipped for this.

The two minutes prior to a presentation are the only time you have control over. Avoid obsessing over your potential effectiveness or the reaction of the audience. That will simply direct your thoughts in the wrong direction.

8. Smile 

According to cognitive scientists, grinning is a common and contagious response to happiness. People who are having fun and love their work are pleasant to be around. Thus, smile. 

The smile disappears from our faces and we start to scowl when we are preoccupied with the intricacies of presenting a presentation. When our bodies get tense, anxiety follows. Our heart rate increases shortly after, and the vicious cycle resumes.

Your mind will understand that what is about to happen is not a threat but rather something to look forward to if you put a wide smile on your face.

If you take your career seriously, you probably spent a lot of time and effort developing a compelling message and presentation. In the last two minutes before your presentation, don’t discount all that hard effort.

Final words 

Why do these speaking issues not arise when you are speaking to close friends, family members, or coworkers? They rarely happen because you are normally at ease while conversing with individuals you know in a relaxed setting. The secret to giving excellent presentations to groups is, above all things, relaxation. One of the simplest strategies to make yourself feel more at ease is to deliver presentations in conversational tones.

You have the ability to speak well. Every day, you deliver engaging presentations. When addressing a crowd, adopt the same attitude you would when conversing with a single person. You can become a great public speaker by using these straightforward suggestions.

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