Amy Carroll » Speaking Tips » Managing Your Nerves Part 2

Managing Your Nerves Part 2

This post was written by Amy Carroll, director of Next Step Speaker Services.  To get to know Amy better, visit her at her blog  You can also email her with any questions about the new speaker service at [email protected] or by filling out the request for information form on this site.

When I get nervous, I start to lose my breath which isn’t great for a speaker.  I want my audience to be at ease as I start, and a shaky voice just doesn’t do it.  I struggled for a long time with this problem until one day I heard a radio personality talk about a method called square breathing. 

 Although my nervousness has lessened with time and practice, I still feel the butterflies start during my introduction.  I’ve learned to embrace a little nervousness as a natural adrenaline rush that will help me open with energy, but I want to have a steady voice.  Square breathing has been the answer for me.  Here are the steps:

  • While counting to 4, inhale slowly through your nose.
  • Hold the breath for 4 slow counts.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth while counting to 4.
  • Hold the breath for 4 slow counts.
  • Repeat 2-3 times. 

I think this works for several reasons.  It makes me slow my breathing down which keeps me from hyperventilating.  It floods my body with oxygen which helps clear and sharpen my mind.  It also gives my brain something to do (counting) besides thinking about how nervous I am!

I hope this simple, practical tip will be helpful.  If you have any tips, please share them in the comments.

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    1. Thanks so much, Jennifer!

  1. I put on a *big* smile! And remind myself that it’s like I’m sitting with a couple of friends over coffee 🙂

  2. Amy,
    This was life-changing for me the first time you shared this in my speaker eval. group. Great advice. Also, this page looks incredible!

  3. I want to do something! i would love to write and blog. need help in all areas. I do know that God has called me …. i am doinging Children’s Church, but God assure’s me that this is just a foor in the door for more to come.