Controlling Physical Activity

Photo of public speaker.
While adrenaline causes many involuntary responses such as profuse sweating, uncontrollable shaking, or forgetfulness, some physical responses can induce a calming effect on people looking to counteract negative biological reactions with positive ones.

  • Deep breathing. Without hyperventilating, pause momentarily, just before beginning the speech, and take at least a couple of deep, cleansing breaths. Allow the diaphragm to fill the lungs completely, and then exhale slowly, releasing as much air as possible. Do this slowly and deliberately, as the calming power of slow, deep breathing cannot be reinforced often enough.
  • Use the body’s muscles. Adrenaline may supply the body with tons of extra energy, but it has a down side: it gets burned off just as quickly as it sets in. Simply move around the room and use gestures while speaking.

Note to Self

You will not need to do jumping jacks or pushups to burn off this excess energy; it only takes minimal effort and movement. The last thing you want to do is stand still and grip the podium for dear life. The more rigid your stance, the longer the adrenaline burst will last!


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Messages that Matter: Public Speaking in the Information Age - Third Edition Copyright © 2023 by North Idaho College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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