Shattering Public Speaking Jitters

 Have a work presentation coming up? Getting started
in public speaking? Or as a student, do you hate oral presentations? 
As my speaking calendar is filling in for this next year,
and I reflect on how much I love sharing with women, it occurs to me that not everyone
enjoys public speaking. If that is you, or if you simply wish to polish up
those skills, may I let you in on five things that will shatter your public
speaking jitters, and revolutionize your communication skills? 
1.) Bring quality and expertise. In today’s busy world, nobody wants to waste their time. Put in the time
and hard work to learn, research, accumulate statistics, dig into God’s word,
and cite other experts that will enrich your listener. In my ministry I want my listeners to walk away from our sessions with a rekindled flame in their
walk with God, in their marriage and family, and in their spheres of influence.
And they’ll have the tools, resources and passion for the next steps. 
2.) Be convinced, yourself. If you are not convinced that what
you have to say is important and will revolutionize marriages, or transform the
way people think about their sexuality, for example, — or whatever YOU talk
about– then go back to step one: Bring quality and expertise. Research your
topic until you have quality information that is vitally important to your
hearers. Once you are convinced of its value, your delivery and demeanor will
automatically reflect your passion, pathos and ethos. 
3.) Think of your Audiences’ Needs above your own. For my
speaking engagements, I love to find out more about each group I am going to: their
needs, the group’s origins, their passions, and the topic they choose from my speaking selection. Then I spend the weeks and months before my sessions,
praying for these women. Lifting up their particular MOPS groups, retreats,
homeschooling co-ops, camps, or banquets, I spend regular time in prayer for
them. I love how God gives me a love for them that wells out of me when I speak
to them later that year, and it eliminates any jitters. 
4.) Watch your protein and caffeine. Wonderful communicator and adviser Jeannie Burlowski advises clients to sneak in some protein right before
a presentation. The protein gives your brain a boost of clarity and alertness,
clearing any fog or verbal stumbles. Watch your caffeine intake on an empty
stomach too, since it will cause hand tremors and nervous-looking shaking – not
something that increases your professional demeanor.

5.) Still nervous? Breathe in squares. Speaking consultant from
Next Step Speaker Services, Amy Carroll, instructs speakers on the highly-practiced, four-part
breathing technique that renowned public speakers use nationwide. Breathe in
for four seconds. Hold your breath for four seconds. Breathe out for four
seconds. Wait four seconds, repeat. 

So, to shatter those jitters for
your next business presentation, homework assignment, or ministry workshop:
bring quality, be convinced, think of your audiences’ needs, watch your protein
and caffeine, and breathe in squares, when needed. 

My favorite parts? Getting a chance
to pray for women across Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and more; and then seeing
God light up women’s eyes as they think about their walk with Him, their
marriage and family, and their spheres of influence. What a treat to be part

What are some speaking tips you’ve
appreciated over the years? Or, what excites you? 

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  1. Kimberly Rae on August 8, 2012 at 1:45 am

    This is great, Jennifer! Thanks for sharing it with us. I like to have stuff in my hands. For some reason it makes me feel better to be holding something, so I've learned to set up a table and sometimes go from item to item, which helps me remember what to talk about too! =)

  2. Jennifer Dougan on August 8, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Hi Kimberly,

    Yes, holding my notes binder, or the books I am referencing is helpful to me too.

    Have a great book signing at the library this week!


  3. Brian Miller on August 8, 2012 at 3:40 am

    nice…solid wisdom…i still get butterflies when i perform…and i have done audiences up to the thousands….i figure if i ever lose them completely i am not talking on the right things….

  4. LOLITA on August 8, 2012 at 5:41 am

    Very helpful, indeed Jen.

    Bless you with your speaking dates.

    How I wish we were near each other so I could be an audience too.

  5. Unknown on August 8, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Wow, these are fantastic tips! I'm totally tweeting this!

  6. AmyAlves on August 8, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Thank you Jennifer! I'm a newbie, and I cling to a promise like this, Exodus 4:12 "Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” Thank you for breaking it down for us! I so appreciate you sister! ~Blessings out, Amy 🙂

  7. Bethany Hayes on August 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Thanks for these great tips. I only speak to my church ladies, but I still get nervous! It helps me to remember I'm really only speaking to an audience of One.

    Thanks again!

  8. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm


    Yes, I understand that… the times my messages have been hard to hear, hard to receive, hard to do — for myself too– I admit my stomach tumbles inside and I wonder at the response. But if he tells me to speak, I'm trying to obey. 🙂

    Keep speaking and word-crafting, Brian. It's often convicting, and/or encouraging.


  9. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Lolita, thank you for your kind encouragement.


  10. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm


    Thank you! I'm glad you found them helpful. How are you today?


  11. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm


    You can do it! Yes, what a great verse. What do you most like to share about?


  12. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm


    I'm so glad you found them helpful. Thank you! They are what I use all the time too.

    Good job for sharing with sisters in your church! That's great. What are you most passionate about?


  13. AmyAlves on August 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Hi Jennifer! I got your comment. 🙂 I'm a life coach for women so I help lead them individually towards their passion, purpose, and vision! I've only ever so far spoken and led a small women's study. I believe God is preparing me to "speak" to more women in larger groups down the road… My website is all geared towards leading women towards the abundant life Jesus has offered through His life! I hope you're learning and having an awesome day sister! ~ Blessings from Maine, Amy

  14. Wise Hearted on August 10, 2012 at 4:56 am

    Hello Jennifer…very informative post. A couple things that help me is speak on something I am passionate about.

    I always write out my notes but because I have gone through them so many times I have to seldom look at them. Know the subject well. To stand before a group of ladeis knowing I did not prepare well is the worst of all feelings.

    Take short pauses to take a drink sometimes helps to gather thoughts. I love fitting in a song that goes along with the topic which also give me a chance to regroup in my mind the direction I am going.

    I am going to copy your post and put it in my notebook for future reference. Thank you and I too would love to hear you speak.

  15. Dontmissyoursunsetlady on August 11, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Hey Jennifer,

    Has the nerves problems always been easy thing for you or have you overcome it with hard work and skill? Thanks for the great advice! May I share this?

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