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You may have been there. Your heart races, your breathing becomes shallow, your palms sweat, and yes, you get those embarrassing sweat stains under your arms. While some may think its funny, if it’s ever happened to you, you know it’s no laughing matter.

Acute stress can cause intense, periods of stress. This is particularly true in certain environments or tasks. Public speaking is one of task that causes stress in most people. Even the thought of speaking in front of a crowd causes some adults to break into a cold sweat. Physical symptoms due to this stress include excessive perspiration. If you’re one of these people, you’ve probably had some embarrassing moments in your life if you’ve ever had to s peak. Don’t worry. Reducing your perspiration during public speaking can be done. It just requires a combination of cognitive and practical adjustments. Here are a few things that will help you the next time you have to give a speech.

  • Extra-strength antiperspirant

You’ll need to apply extra-strong antiperspirant to your sweat-prone areas before your speaking engagement. Read the back label of the product and check the aluminum content. You want to look for products with a high aluminum content. Products with higher percentages of aluminum are more effective. Aluminum is the active antiperspirant ingredient. Use the product under your arms, across the palms of your hands and in between your fingers. To best keep your hands from perspiring, apply the antiperspirant after you’re dressed. This will minimize contact between the product on your hands and other areas of your body or clothing.

  • Dress appropriately

Usually, when you speak, you have to wear a business suit of some kind. Make sure you ear cool, breathable clothing the day you speak. Natural fibers like cotton, silk, broadcloth and wool allow for more air circulation. Synthetic fibers like acetate or polyester don’t “breathe” as much. If possible, you may want to cool yourself by removing a cardigan or sport coat before speaking. White shirts which conceal moisture penetration more effectively are the wisest thing to wear. If you have to wear darker colors, you’ll want to choose black. This will unfortunately absorb more heat. More importantly, however, it will conceal moisture penetration more effectively than other colors.

  • Stay Calm

The more you calm yourself, the less stressful you will feel. The less stress you feel, the less perspiration you’ll have. Practice calming yourself. There are mindful techniques you can practice using visualization and breathing patterns to relax yourself in the weeks or months before you need to give your speech. In the time period shortly before your speech, inhale slowly and hold your breath for about10 seconds, and exhale for about 15 seconds. You’ll want to repeat this at least three times. During your presentation, practice exhaling and inhaling every few sentences. This will keep you from sounding anxious and rushed. If you exhale and inhale every few sentences, it will prevent you from hyperventilating and provide a natural pause in your speech.

If you practice these simple things, you won’t make your perspiration disappear. You will make it something you can live with, and something you won’t be embarrassed about. When someone asks you to speak, you can say, “No Sweat!”


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