Speech design tips: End nerves and start strong with a smile

Speech design tips: Start strong with a smile

Use the power of your body’s autonomic nervous system to handle your nerves.

First impressions count, especially as a speaker. Smile and let your body mechanics improve your chemistry and confidence.

The audience responds to how confident we look, how we stand, and the first line out of our mouths. If our body language is nervous and we rush our first line, the audience sees us as nervous. The audience may take your nervousness as a sign that your speech will be less than enjoyable. Speech design involves body and voice cues as well as words.

Speech design If you can stride up confidently, pause, smile at the audience and then start with a powerful line, the audience anticipates something special. Shake the MC’s hand firmly with confidence, and a warm smile. The audience responds to how they perceive you: if you look confident they respond better. You body responds to your posture and muscle movement.

Even if you are nervous you can use the power of the body’s autonomic nervous system to change the chemical state of your body, and how you feel. This changes the way the audience reacts to you. As you stand up straight and smile, including your cheeks and eyes in the smile, your body releases feel-good chemicals (endorphins) that make us feel happier and more confident.

Speech design tip: When you frown, or hunch your shoulders, the brain creates feel-bad chemicals (cortisol) and you feel stressed. The system works both ways. Body posture and facial expression lead to happy/sad feelings. Happy/sad feelings lead to similar body posture and facial expressions.

  1. It is OK to be nervous
  2. The audience sees what you let them see
  3. Consciously breathe and relax your body
  4. Stand up straight and smile


Handling speaking nerves Infographic If you want to learn how to create One Clear Message when speaking and more about Speech design then contact us today!

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Richard Riche

Change Communication and Employee Engagement specialist at One Clear Message Consulting
Richard specialises in helping you build real human communication skills. Employee Engagement / Experience, Emotional Intelligence skills, building high performance teams and a great place you want to work. TED style speaking and presentation skills. Training, consulting and coaching.
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