Stop your voice and hands shaking during public speaking

Stop your voice and hands shaking during public speaking

Read time: 10 minutes

Executive Summary

Stop Your Shaking Voice and Hands During Public Speaking

  • Relax your breathing: Inhale slowly through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 4, exhale through your mouth.
  • Improve your posture: Stand or sit up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Focus on positive thoughts: Visualise yourself speaking confidently and effectively.
  • Control hand movements: Avoid letting your hands wave around by keeping them still or using them for emphasis.

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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 daily, and that didn’t phase her one little bit. But ask her 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. Take a look at our tips on overcoming nerves for more information. 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.

Are you a professional struggling with public speaking? We’ve helped hundreds of professionals become confident speakers. Contact us today to discuss 1-to-1 training and taster sessions.



The long-term approach to shaking voice when presenting

The ideal 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 understanding and 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 a 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 virtually across the globe or face to face in and around London, Kent, Dorset, Hertfordshire or Leicestershire. 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 can, exercise before the presentation because this will use up some adrenaline. But you don’t want to jog around in the space in which you are presenting, so 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 on our 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. Check out our video on “Body Language for Presentations” for more information.

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. Being too close to a speaker or microphone can accentuate a shaky voice, speaking too close to any audio device can highlight shivering sounds – if you are using a microphone in a face-to-face conference follow these tips to ensure you use the microphone correctly on our “Using a microphone for public speaking” blog. Gain more confidence by reading our book on High Performance Presentations.

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 business professional 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 nerves and fear. That in turn caused more adrenaline to be produced and that 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.

The long term solution to stop shaking hands when public speaking

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

The short term solution to stop shaking hands when public speaking

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 “What to do With Your Hands When Giving a Presentation” so you know where to have your hands and arms when presenting.

For more information on how to effectively prepare for a presentation see our blog “Step #1 Think About the Audience


A few weeks later the man I’d met at the talk called me to book 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. This helped him to be even more confident in his body language and voice which helped him to remain 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, 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.

If you know you want to improve your presentation skills but aren’t quite sure where to start, visit our page to help you choose the best next steps for you

BOOK TODAY!  Get In Touch

Author: Dee Clayton

Dee Clayton - Simply Amazing TrainingDee Clayton, an acclaimed coach and winner of the prestigious Overall National UK NBW Award in 2022, has over 30 years of experience in communication. With over half of her career as an author, mentor, and trainer. Dee offers a distinctive blend of skills and insights. Her mission is clear: to empower high-performing individuals to excel further, while guiding their teams to unprecedented success. Connect with Dee via LinkedIn.

Posted by Dee Clayton on 10 Sep 2018

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