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Lesson 83: The 3 benefits of nervousness in public speaking

While you may not think that nervousness is beneficial in public speaking or for that matter in any other type of live performance, be it in the performing arts or in professional sports, the truth is that there are wonderful bonuses of the dreaded adrenaline rush.  Many people, however, are unable to appreciate just what nervousness can do for them, because they have no control over it.

In truth, I would rather an individual be nervous in public speaking than not because nervousness or the increased level of stress actually increases your chances of success at the lectern.  The problem for many people is that their nervousness in is control of them instead of the other way around.  That, in itself, is a reason to fear public speaking. And, in cases like this, your level of stress continues to increase thereby increasing your nervousness instead of decreasing it.

When Indianapolis played New Orleans this month, do you not think the football players were nervous?  Of course they were.  It was the Super Bowl!  Nervousness is not something that happens just to you.  It happens to all of us in one manner or another.  The difference between you and the football player, for example, is that he puts his nervousness to good use, just as actors, musicians, singers, and professional speakers do.

Being able to control your anxiety, nervousness, jitters or whatever you call it means that you will discover: a heightened awareness of all of your senses, the ability to be more focused, and, an increase in your level of enthusiasm – which your audience will feel as well.

Nervousness is debilitating only if you allow it to be.   So, how do you take control of your nervousness and allow it to work for you?  By learning how to breathe with the support of your diaphragm.  If you have never thought of breathing in this manner, you might want to learn this technique.  In doing so, you will also discover an overall reduction in the stress you encounter on a daily basis.

If you would like to know if you are breathing properly, stand in front of a mirror – minussuck in your mid-torso region?  If so, then you are breathing incorrectly:  you are a lazy or shallow breather.   By breathing in this manner, the nervousness you feel at the lectern will only be exacerbated. your shirt or blouse – and take a deep breath.  Did your shoulder rise?  Did you

Make diaphragmatic breathing a habit and watch what happens the next time you have to give a presentation or speech.  There is nothing better for controlling nervousness than breathing with this support.  Imagine controlling your nervousness, putting an end to breathlessnessdelivery just by taking a proper breath.  Pretty novel and actually having control over your idea, isn’t it?

Adapted from:


beneficial - helpful, useful or good

performance - how well a person, machine, etc. does a piece of work or an activity

adrenaline rush - sudden burst of emotion associated with certain chemicals or situations

dread - to feel extremely worried or frightened about something that is going to happen or that might happen

appreciate - to recognize or understand that something is valuable, important or as described

increase - to (make something) become larger in amount or size

decrease - to become less, or to make something become less

lectern - a piece of furniture with a sloping part on which a book or paper is put to be read from

thereby - as a result of this action

put sth to good use - to apply a skill or ability; to use a skill or ability

anxiety - an uncomfortable feeling of nervousness or worry about something that is happening or might happen in the future

heighten - to increase or make something increase, especially an emotion or effect

awareness - knowledge that something exists, or understanding of a situation or subject at the present time based on information or experience

jitters - a feeling of nervousness which you experience before something important happens

audience - the group of people together in one place to watch or listen to a play, film, someone speaking, etc.

debilitating - to make someone or something physically weak

diaphragm - the muscle which separates the chest from the lower part of the body

encounter - to experience, especially something unpleasant

on daily basis - happening or done every day

manner- the way in which something is done

overall - n general rather than in particular, or including all the people or things in a particular group or situation

minus – (here) without

suck in - to draw in (one's breath) sharply

exacerbate - to make something which is already bad worse

put an end to something – to stop something

breathlessness - breathing with difficulty

novel - new and original, not like anything seen before

delivery - the way in which someone speaks in public



Read the text and answer the questions true or false.

1. Nervousness can actually be very helpful in public speaking.

2. The main disadvantage of nervousness is that people have no control over it.

3. It is possible to put nervousness to good use only by actors, musicians, singers, and professional speakers.

4. Proper breathing can help you take control of your nervousness.

5. Adrenaline rush and breathlessness are side effects of nervousness.



Read the text one more time and fill in the gaps with missing words from the glossary.

1. The ……………………… was clearly delighted with the ………………………

2. When did you first ……………………………these difficulties?

3. The pianist put his talents to ……………… at the party.

4. The strong police presence only ………………………..the tension among the crowd.

5. There's no point buying him expensive wines - he doesn't …………………………… them.

6. He's …………………… his driving test - he's sure he's going to fail.

7. The lights went out, and that ………….. an end to our game of cards.

8. Keeping a sheep in the garden is a  ……………………… way of keeping the grass short!

9. Environmental ……………………… has …………………… dramatically over the past decade.

10.  The improvement in sales figures had a  …………………… influence on the company as a whole.


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piątek, 26 lutego 2010, kurs_praca

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2013/04/28 23:57:05
Super blog :) Angielski w biznesie jest bardzo ważny. Przekonałam się o tym ostatnio starając się o zwrot podatku z USA. Na szczęście udało mi się znaleźć program pity 2012. program jest też w wersji angielskiej, co bardzo mi pomogło. Konkluzja jest jedna angielski przydaje się wszędzie...
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