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Stop your voice and hands shaking during public speaking

We recently worked with a high-powered businesswoman. She was confident, articulate, intelligent and very well respected within her organisation. She had to present to senior decision makers on a daily basis, and that didn’t faze her one little bit. But put her on a stage to deliver a ‘formal’ presentation, and the shakes would start. First, shaky voice syndrome which then spread to her hands. This one area of her job revealed a massive chink in her confidence.

You might wonder ‘why does my voice shake when I’m nervous?’ It’s one of the most common speech anxiety symptoms. Many, many people suffer from a shaky voice and hands when nervous – and even shaky voice anxiety long before the presentation has begun. When our brain releases adrenaline, it increases our heart rate and causes shaky hands or voice, dry mouth and sweating.

So does that mean there’s nothing that can be done about the shakes? Absolutely not. There are long-term and short-term solutions.

The long-term approach to shaking voice when presenting

The ideal situation long-term solution is to reduce the amount of adrenaline produced when you are about to give a presentation. This is what we do when we work with our clients to help them to “Tame Their Public Speaking Monkeys” – we help them to think about public speaking in a more positive light, meaning the amount of adrenaline produced no longer leads to the shakes.

You can deal with your stress and anxiety by taming your ‘Public Speaking Monkeys’ – those voices of self-doubt that say negative and discouraging things (“Your knees are knocking”, “No-one is listening because you’re so boring”, etc). If you suffer from shaky voice or hands during presentations and you are ready to take action, get in touch. You can buy our book Taming Your Public Speaking Monkeys: Building confidence for public speaking and presentations, or you could learn more about our multi-award winning one-to-one presentation skills training programmes and work with us in Bournemouth, St Albans or London. Once you’ve tamed your monkeys, you can flourish as a calm and confident speaker.

The short-term solution to shaking voice when presenting

If you don’t like presenting and you’ve become nervous or anxious about it then the adrenaline will come and can cause the shakes. Once adrenaline is present in the body you need to use it up as fast as possible (where appropriate) and use temporary techniques to control your nerves and reduce the production of any more.

If you are able to, exercise before the presentation because this will use up some adrenaline. You don’t want to jog around the lecture theatre though so if you are already in the venue here are some tips to reduce shaking when public speaking:

A. Slow and deep breathing can be very helpful for calming down your mind, body and heart rate. Learn to relax your breathing – try this out!

  1. Slowly breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds
  2. Next hold your breath for 4 seconds (if comfortable)
  3. Breathe out through your mouth for 4 seconds
  4. Hold your breath for 4 seconds
  5. Repeat this process twice more

B. For more information on improving your breathing check out if you are doing it right in this blog Don’t forget to breathe!

C. Posture – Instead of worrying about your voice shaking when public speaking, focus on having a good presentation posture/position before and during your presentation.

D. Use a previously created positive Confidence Charm. A collection of positive memories to put you in a different state) which is fully explained in my book Taming Your Public Speaking Monkeys.

E. Follow our top tips and techniques on how to relax before a presentation

F. Easier said than done but try and get a good night’s sleep

G. Stay healthy – Some research suggests staying hydrated and healthy eating can help – however tempted you are – avoid alcohol intake the night before (or on the day!) and avoid excess caffeine intake.

H. Holding a microphone can accentuate any shaky voice, and putting it too near your mouth can highlight any shivering sounds – follow these tips to ensure you use the microphone correctly on our “Using a microphone for public speaking” blog.

Oh, and that businesswoman we mentioned at the beginning? She tamed her monkeys and now she enjoys every aspect of her work and feels calm and confident when she’s delivering a presentation. She surprised herself by saying she actively enjoys public speaking now!

Top tips to stop shaking hands when public speaking

After a recent talk, I gave on how to Engage, Persuade and Inspire when giving a presentation, a very senior person came up to me and took me to one side. They described how embarrassed they were when they came to give a presentation – they just couldn’t stop their hands from shaking. Their content was strong and they had practised hard but no matter what they did they couldn’t stop those shakes. They’d even tried beta blockers but they didn’t work either. I explained that it was those pesky “Public Speaking Monkeys” that cause the nerves and fear. That in turn caused more adrenaline to be produced and that I caused the shaky hands and sometimes a shaky voice too. As you begin to dread speaking more and more you create a downward spiral which makes the next time even worse.

I said that instead of having a spiral of negative thoughts the long-term solution was to work with either me, Dee Clayton or Marion Hewitt here at the multi-award winning Simply Amazing Training.

As a short-term fix I suggested they follow these tips to reduce shaking hands when giving a presentation:

  1. Learn how to relax before a presentation – this will minimise the impact of the Public Speaking Monkeys and produce less adrenaline
  2. Don’t hold your notes – people will notice your shaking hands even more if you are clasping pieces of paper read my blog on “How to avoid reading your presentation” to ensure you make notes that help not hinder you.
  3. Muscle clenching can use up adrenaline and distract your brain from problem areas. If your hands are shaking, try to (subtly) clench different muscles like those in your legs.
  4. Control where you put your hands, don’t allow them to wave around all over the place it will just make the shakes even more noticeable – Watch the video “How to…presentation posture/position” so you know where to have your hands and arms when presenting.


A few weeks later the man I’d met at the talk called me to book one a one to one mentoring programme with us. During the second session with us, he learnt how to tame his public speaking monkeys and stop dreading presentations.

As a result, he reduced his adrenaline levels and began to feel more positive.  In the subsequent sessions, he learnt a presentation posture to ensure he remained calm and confident when presenting and learnt the SAS structure so he knew exactly what to say and didn’t need to hold any notes.

In the final session, he got to practise with his mentor and get honest, supportive feedback on some easy wins to be even more confident in his body language and voice so he remained calm, confident and ready for anything.

If you’d like to learn more about our multi-award winning one-to-one presentation skills training programmes we’d love to hear from you – we are happy to work with you in Bournemouth, St Albans, London and surrounding areas. Or if you’d like to work with a multi-award winning company with accredited trainers like Dee Clayton and Marion Hewitt, passionate about helping you contact us for more information about how we can help you with your fear of having a shaky voice or shaky hands whilst presenting at work.


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What is an expert?

I was recently working with a presentation skills client in Bournemouth to ‘Tame his Public Speaking Monkeys and help increase his confidence when presenting.

He is very knowledgeable in his field and wanted to be known as an expert but had ‘monkeys’ telling him he wasn’t good enough.

So, when we had ‘Tamed his Public Speaking Monkeys’ we discussed what could he do as a presenter to increase his personal impact, and clearly show the audience he is an expert in his field. What might influence their thinking?

Be confident to be contentious – an expert will invite debate and enjoy being challenged. This evolves, and you will become known as a thought leader with the ability to influence.

Have a clear structure – focus on what the audience wants from the presentation and show a real understanding of their world – the challenges, opportunities, etc.

Use language appropriate for the audience – explain things in a way the audience will understand and is relevant to them. Don’t overwhelm them with complexity they don’t need to know – it will confuse them not impress them! A real expert can make difficult things clear.

Include active participation – maybe short exercises or tasks within the presentation. Use techniques like tag questions to invite participation – you know what one of those is, don’t you? This will help people learn, understand and retain information better.

Invite questions and thoughts throughout the session – this gives an opportunity to answer competently and demonstrate expertise. Give examples from your experience where you can to increase your credibility.

Show your passion for your subject – speak slowly and clearly but don’t be afraid to put energy and enthusiasm into your voice.

Maybe you have a conference speech to deliver, or will be a keynote speaker at an event or part of an expert panel? If you would like to learn more about these techniques and how ‘Taming your Public Speaking Monkeys’ will help you build your confidence as a presenter in your field, we offer training in Bournemouth and Southampton. If you would like to find out more please call me, Marion Hewitt, today on 07954 331169 for an informal chat about how we can work together or contact me by completing the website contact form on the right.

How to present to multi-cultural audiences

Recently we ran an event for the 40 members of the global sales team of a multi-national, working with them to ‘Tame their Public Speaking Monkeys’ and help them increase their confidence when presenting.

The participants travelled to Bournemouth from all round the world and we wanted to present to them in a way to increase their understanding, make it as easy as we could for them to listen, and build rapport with them.

If you are presenting to an audience where you don’t share the same first language and you come from different cultures, there is some additional preparation you can do, and tips you can follow, to make your presentation have impact for everyone.

Do your research – if you know the cultures represented in your audience you can do research, so you learn the best ways to build rapport, and how to avoid causing offence.

Have a clear structure – as always, the structure should be all about what the audience wants and set out so it is easy to follow.

Pace your speech – make sure you speak slowly and clearly, allowing pauses between sentences. You want to allow time for your audience to listen, translate and comprehend. Even if it sounds too slow to you, it won’t be to the audience, so practice speaking slowly.

Check body language and use of hands – some cultures are more animated than others and hand movements will mean different things. The best way to show respect and avoid inadvertently causing offence is to remain still in the presenter stance, which means being well grounded with minimal hand movement.

Avoid humour – what is funny in one culture could cause offence in another so don’t risk humour!

Be careful of jargon and analogies – jargon may not be understood, and they may not be able to identify with analogies. However, if you do have time you could find some relevant analogies you could use to demonstrate you understand their world.

Understand about audience response – in different cultures audiences respond differently. Some show respect or appreciation by becoming animated, others remain calm and still. Do your research to know what to expect so you know when you have built strong rapport and they are engaged.

If you too would like to travel to Bournemouth (although we also deliver training all around the UK) to learn more about these tips and how ‘Taming your Public Speaking Monkeys’ will help you build your confidence when presenting to audiences where you don’t share the same first language, please get in touch with me, Marion Hewitt, today on 07954 331169.

Using microphones in conference presentations

Claire Hartnell from CJ Garden Services based in Chandlers Ford is also a BNI Hampshire Area Director Consultant and emailed us last week. She’s already “Tamed” her monkeys with us last year when she attended our course at The Village hotel in Bournemouth, Dorset. She emailed to say that in a few weeks she’s giving her first conference presentation to 200 people – well done Claire Simply Amazing!! She was asking for advice on using the microphone for the first time so we’ve written a blog to help her and other first time mic users.

How do I use a microphone to enhance my presentation?

How often have you heard someone say ‘Can you all hear me ok?’ What first impression does that give you about the presenter? Plus, if you think about it, there is a total lack of logic in the question!
If you have followed the tips in our last blog you will now know how a microphone will help you when presenting to a larger audience and dealt with those annoying Public Speaking Monkeys that were getting in the way of you being heard. Perhaps you know the ones that are saying things like ‘why would they want to hear you’, ‘your content is boring’ or ‘you’re going to mess up again’?
So now you are a confident public speaker, what next? There are different types of microphone and to add to your presentation skills you need to understand how to get the best out of them.
public speaking help

Handheld microphones

  • Make sure it always remains in line with your mouth. Until you are used to it, the best way is to imagine it ‘glued’ to the base of (but not underneath) your chin so it moves with your head. If you don’t your voice will fade in and out. As you get more confident, you can hold it slightly away and as you turn your head you will move the microphone to keep it in line.
  • Hold it firmly, but naturally, away from the ball of the microphone as this can cause interference (unless you are a secret hip-hop or rap artist?)

Lapel or lavaliere microphone

  • This requires advance planning to ensure it can be attached to something you’re wearing, for example a jacket lapel, ideally 8-10 inches from your mouth.
  • As with a handheld mic, move your upper body as well as your head so they always stay aligned. Practice this in advance with something pinned to your clothing so you get used to the movement which may not feel normal at the beginning.
  • Don’t wear anything that can knock the microphone or create interference eg jewellery, buttons. If you have long hair make sure it is out of the way so it can’t fall across the mic.

Lectern microphone

  • Don’t hide behind the lectern – it steals your “energy”. If you can bend or pull it to the side and then stand to the side, standing in the presenter stance as we teach our clients.
    When you are confident using a microphone, your audience will not even notice that it is there!


To find out more about how we can work together so you deliver presentations in a calm and confident way through our award winning Taming Your Public Speaking Monkeys programme, give me, Marion Hewitt, a call today, on 07954 331169 for an informal chat. I’d be delighted to work with you in Southampton, Hampshire and I cover other areas in Dorset too.



The benefits of using a microphone for public speaking

I was working with a one to one client recently in Bournemouth who had been feeling nervous about a public speaking event and had then unexpectedly been handed a microphone to use. As you may imagine, this did nothing to help his confidence!

Why should you use a microphone? It will mean less strain for you; it allows for more expression to comes across when you speak; and it is easier for your audience.

A microphone won’t make a bad presentation good, just louder! All the things we teach clients about ‘Taming Their Public Speaking Monkeys’ – overcoming those annoying voices in your head saying things like ‘your presentation isn’t good enough’, still apply.

So, when you have tamed those monkeys, our top tips for using a microphone are:

  • Stand correctly (we call this Presenter Stance) enabling you to project your voice into the mic.
  • Breathe properly – deep, slow and measured breathing makes it easier to produce your voice and then include expression and emotion that adds to your message.
  • Do a proper sound check (and I don’t mean tap the top and say ‘testing, testing’!) before the audience arrives. Check:
    • Is the volume set correctly for the room and audience size? Enlist the help of someone to walk all around the room to check from every vantage point.
    • Talk through several sentences so you are used to the acoustics of the room and the sound of your voice within it.
    • Check where the speakers are located, not just so they are in the best place for the audience so you avoid any feedback noise if you get too close.
    • Do you know how to turn it on / off and mute it?!
  • If you are going to encourage audience members to participate and contribute, have an additional roving microphone that has also been tested, along with a willing volunteer to take it round.

Remember, when planning the content of a presentation, as we teach in our Simply Amazing Structure (SAS) it is always all about the audience. This includes making it easy for them to hear you.

Oh…and the client I mentioned, is now confident with a microphone after our time working together, using it like a pro!


I would love to work with you to Tame Your Public Speaking Monkeys in Bournemouth or elsewhere. Please get in touch with me, Marion Hewitt, today on 07954 331169 for an informal chat about how we can work together to help you become a calm and confident presenter.



Winner of the TCA International Coaching Award – CPD Coach of the Year 2017

CPD Coach Of The Year 2017We are delighted that Marion Hewitt, a Licensee of Simply Amazing Training, was recently awarded the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Coach of the Year Award at the TCA International Coaching Awards.

The credibility of this award will give clients even greater confidence when working with her; knowing that she is up to date with the latest techniques for helping clients achieve their results. And she continues to challenge herself in the same way as she challenges her clients, to set themselves goals and continuously improve.

When being presented with the award, she was described as:

‘An inspired coach who strongly believes in the power and transformational effect it can have on clients. She coaches and empowers clients to fulfil their potential whilst drawing on her HR expertise. Marion continues to set herself goals for her own learning and development, and has her own coach to ensure she maintains momentum and focus.’

Clients benefit because:

  • They work with a coach whose effectiveness has been independently recognised, both through this award and as a CPD Standards Accredited coach.
  • They can be confident they are working with someone with comprehensive skills, continuously updated knowledge and ideas for new ways to support clients to maximise their performance, whether this is presenting or attaining other goals.
  • Marion says that she is thrilled to receive the award and describes herself as ‘passionate about enabling clients to achieve their potential and to be who they can be’.

To find out more about Marion can help you with public speaking mentoring, please call her on 07954 331169.


Why do I stutter when I am nervous?

Would you like to speak fluently, feel more relaxed and be confident that you won’t stutter when talking, presenting or public speaking?

If you suffer from situational stuttering, this is an outcome of anxiety and is different to people that stutter related to a medical condition. Situational stuttering can vary from a slight hesitation to an inability to complete saying a word or sentence.

The most common time to develop a stutter is between 2 and 6 years old, during what is referred to as the imprint period. This aligns with clients recalling being asked to read something in class during their early years at school, they stumbled or stuttered over a word and others in the class laughed. This created the unhelpful ‘you’re going to stutter’ monkey, that voice of self-doubt that says negative things.

So, what can you do to overcome stuttering as an adult and how can you stop stuttering when nervous or anxious?

  1. Replace your unhelpful monkey with a new helpful monkey. This is done by catching, connecting and taming the unhelpful monkey that is telling you that you will stutter. We do this through our mentoring programme, or you can read the book to learn more (see below).
  2. Take long, deep breathes as you prepare to speak. This will maximise the flow of oxygen around your body and brain, interrupting the adrenalin response, known as ‘fight or flight’ and enable the body to adopt a normal relaxed response, both in mind and body.
  3. Use the presenter stance. Take a moment before you start to relax, focus on being grounded and adopt the presenter stance.
  4. Slow down your pace of speaking. Use a metronome (there are apps for this, see How to speak slowly using apps) and practice talking in time with it, gradually slowing the pace. You could do this practicing a presentation or just reading out loud, as long as you get used to the ‘feel’ of talking at a slower pace. You can be sure that it will sound much slower to you than it will to your audience. It is rare that we think someone is speaking too slowly!
  5. Plan and practice. Everything you do to prepare will contribute to a reduction in anxiety and therefore stuttering. Follow our tips on planning, practicing, getting feedback etc. See How to relax before a presentation.
  6. Use purposeful pauses. These have double value as they give your audience time to reflect on what you have said and enable you to take a moment to recall your plan and know what you will say next. As with pace of speech, it is unlikely to sound a long pause to your audience. If you’re not convinced, try recording yourself to hear both pace and pauses put to effective use.


If you would like to learn more about how we work with clients to change mindset through ‘Taming your Public Speaking Monkeys’ you can:



How to relax before a presentation

Does just the thought of doing a presentation make you nervous? Do you try to avoid thinking about it? Maybe you delay preparing for it?

But then the more you delay preparing, the less time there will be to plan and practice. Because you haven’t prepared, the presentation doesn’t go as well as it could. You then get even more nervous next time – a downward spiral of nervousness.

So how can you relax and calm your nerves?

There are many techniques which will help you feel calmer about your presentation, both leading up to it and on the day.

The most effective long-term solution is to understand and resolve the root cause. We do this through our programme known as ‘Taming your Public Speaking Monkeys’, these are the voices in your head that manage to sabotage all your efforts.

Our top tips to help you relax before a presentation are:

Plan to prepare! Don’t use lack of time as an excuse. Block out time to prepare and practice – and keep to it.
Have a clear structure. You will feel more relaxed if you know you have included everything. Learn about How to structure a presentation.
Practice but don’t ‘over practice’. When you follow our structure, you won’t work with a script. You will work with key points so you can relax and not worry about ‘forgetting your words’. It will be slightly different every time and that is fine.
Ask for feedback from a friend or colleague. Explain the purpose of your presentation and what you want the audience to gain from listening to you. Ask for feedback from that perspective.
Know the venue and the audience. Arrive in plenty of time to get set up and test the sound in the room. Meet and greet people as they come in so you build rapport with your audience before you start.
Deep breathing is vital for relaxation. Do a few long, slow, deep breaths. This can be in the moments before you start and will maximise the flow of oxygen around your body and brain. This interrupts the Adrenalin response and enables the body to adopt a normal relaxed response.

To deliver at your best you need to be relaxed, as well feel relaxed.

A few butterflies or a sense of anticipation is a positive energy. The key is to use this as helpful enthusiastic energy that inspires your audience.


If you would like to learn more about resolving the root cause of your nervousness when presenting through ‘Taming your Public Speaking Monkeys’ you can:

Download a free chapter of the book ‘Taming your Public Speaking Monkeys’ by Dee Clayton
• Read about our award winning 1:1 mentoring programme
• Or get in touch with Marion on 07954 331169 or fill in the contact form on the right.


Would you like to present better to raise more money for your chosen charity?

Are you passionate about the cause of a charity but lack confidence doing presentations?

Do you miss opportunities to increase awareness of the charity and don’t raise as much money as you would like?

Julia's House

Julia’s House is an amazing local charity that offers emotional and practical support to families coping with a child with a life-threatening or life-limiting condition. This is offered at home, in the community and within the hospice. The charity relies on fundraising and the work of volunteers. I am therefore really looking forward to doing my bit as a volunteer, delivering part of our Simply Amazing Training programme on ‘taming your public speaking monkeys’ to a group of fundraisers at Julia’s House.

One of the things we will be doing is understanding and creating a Simply Amazing Structure (or SAS as we refer to it) they can use for any future presentations.

The key to successful planning is to remember that it is always all about the audience.

So, we will work together to ensure what they deliver engages the audience.

Some of our many tips to achieve this are:

  • In your mind, sit yourself in the audience and consider what would you want to think, feel and know after listening to the presentation?
  • Note these down, as many as you can. Remember if fundraising you will want to appeal to peoples’ emotions. They will then want to act on these emotions by contributing and understanding how what they give will make a real difference to the mission of the charity.
  • Then identify the three most important.
  • Ensure the presentation keeps these as the focus when you plan what to tell them, and what you will be asking them to do as a result of listening to you.

This planning and approach will have the subsequent outcome of raising more funds or increasing action for their cause.

Of course, the importance of the audience applies to every presentation. Is this your starting point when you plan one?

We offer this opportunity to a local charity a few times each year. If you would like to request that we run part of our programme for your fundraisers, can host the event and are in the Bournemouth area, please get in touch.

To find out more about how we work with clients and their public speaking anxiety symptoms, please call Marion on 07954 331169.


7 steps you can take to reduce your speech anxiety?

Most people feel some level of nervousness and suffer from speech anxiety symptoms when asked to do a presentation (Glossophobia). A small amount of stress is positive and useful if directed effectively to generate energy and enthusiasm.

It becomes a problem when the nervousness, fear and anxiety is so great that it reduces your impact and perceived professionalism, and even worse, leads you to avoid making presentations that you need to do to gain business or progress your career.

These seven simple tips will help you reduce nerves and speech anxiety when presenting.

  1. Manage your state so you learn how to feel at ease in front of an audience. There are a range of simple techniques we use with clients, these include the presenter state, where you manage your physiology and focus. As part of this, make sure that you stand tall, and breathe slowly and deeply. Not only will you feel less anxious but you will look more confident.
  2. Plan your presentation and know your material. Think about the presentation structure, take the time to plan it so you are confident it meets the needs of the audience. Our SAS structure ensures that the audience remains the focus of every presentation. When this is right, practice until you know the structure and the flow, but not so it reads as a script. Allowing yourself to trust in the structure will reduce anxiety about ‘forgetting your words’ and make your presentation more natural.
  3. Know the environment. Arrive in plenty of time to check out the room. If practical, move things around if it doesn’t feel right. It is important you feel comfortable, as do your audience. Is the room the right temperature? Are there any external noises that will be distracting for you and the audience?
  4. Test that the technology is working. If you are using a microphone check it is set up correctly and you know how to use it. How often have you seen people spend the first minutes of a presentation trying to get everything working properly?! How does this affect your attention level and your first impressions of the speaker?
  5. Remember it is all about the audience so make sure you know who they are and what they want to get from your presentation. You might chat informally with them as they arrive – that way they won’t seem as intimidating when you are standing in front of them! It might also give ideas for last minute fine tuning to your presentation to make it even more relevant.
  6. Visualise yourself speaking. Create a picture of yourself presenting, concentrate on this until you have created a clear focused picture of how you want to look and sound, and how you want the audience to receive your presentation. Notice how confident you are, how interested the audience is, the sounds you hear, the colours in the room etc. Remember this picture when you are getting ready to present.Marion Hewitt Presentation Skills Trainer
  7. Take opportunities to present. The more you do and the more experience you get (if you follow our body language tips for presenting and ‘Tame your public speaking monkeys’!) the more relaxed and confident you will become.

Our ‘Taming & Training your public speaking monkeys’ programme addresses these elements and more. You begin to change your negative mindset and we then develop the skillset, enabling you to become a calm and confident presenter.

First we work with you to Tame the monkeys (identify and address your fears) and next we Train your monkeys teaching you simple yet powerful techniques and approaches that work with any presentation any time.

If you would like to learn more about how to tame your public speaking monkeys then get in touch with me to find out more about our award winning presentation skills training.

Contact meMarion Hewitt today on 07954 331169 for an informal chat to discuss how we can help you.



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