Shaking when speaking in public is one of the most common symptoms of nervousness when speaking in public. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most noticeable and one of the most embarrassing.
Shaking or trembling was the symptom i dreaded most, just because of the fact that it was the most noticeable
Before I found out how to cure my fear of public speaking (see this post), my hands (and sometimes legs!) would always shake.
Only slightly at first, but then as I noticed the shaking, of course it would get worse. After I gave one particularly bad presentation, a fellow colleague gave me the nickname “Mohammed Ali”… which unfortunately stuck for quite a while, and definitely didn’t make me feel any more comfortable about speaking in public.
One of the easiest ways to help with shaking when speaking in public, is to request a stand, or ‘podium’ type piece of furniture to stand behind. One that you can place your notes on for example. I found when i was standing behind one of these, i could grip onto the stand in such a way that would stop the shaking. Fortunately, if you have to speak at an event, like a wedding or funeral, there will usually be a stand you can ‘hide’ behind.
I’ve been told by a lot of people the shaking will stop eventually, after I’ve had enough practice speaking in front of people – it is something that comes with time and practice.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t help you now. You don’t want to have to shake your way through the next 20 public speaking engagements to be able to finally speak in public without shaking.
Fortunately, there is an answer which is an immediate fix. It involves taking a form of either herbal medication or pharmaceutical medication which acts on the brain to stop the adrenalin rush you normally get from speaking in public. The shaking you experience is actually one of the physical signs of the adrenalin release in your brain as you get up to speak in public. Some people don’t experience a release of adrenalin when they speak in public. Others, like I used to, would go into ‘fight or flight‘ mode, and experience a massive release of adrenalin. This is because my brain thinks speaking in public is a threatening situation – because i have been put out on my own in front of a crowd – a situation it is not used to. The only response it has, which is hard-wired into our genes and something we can not stop easily, is to immediately release adrenalin and give me signals to make me get out of the situation as quickly as possible (i.e fly away)…. it is not something it’s used to and it could be dangerous… Of course it is not. But our brains don’t know that.
What we need therefore is something which stops the flow of adrenalin from ever occurring. If we can stop the flow of adrenalin, our brain will not enter fight or flight mode, which means the physical symptoms of adrenalin, like shaking or trembling, can never eventuate.
I don’t have the expertise to personally recommend a particular medication to everyone, however if you want to overcome your fear immediately I recommend you read (as i did) the public speaking cheat. I used one of the several medications described in the book, and it worked like you wouldn’t believe. Not only would I stop shaking, none of the other physical symptoms of my nervousness would show their ugly faces.