Public Speaking: Warm Up Before Your Presentation

Warm up:  Stretches

As anyone who has emerged from giving a talk exhausted knows, speaking is a physical endeavor. We use our whole bodies when giving a talk and we put particular stress on the muscles of our neck, face, and mouths. Just as runners stretch with particular attention to their legs before a marathon, we must stretch with particular attention to our necks, faces, and mouths. Here are some stretches that you can do to help you warm up to better prepare for your presentation:

  • Neck Rolls

Allow your head to drop to your chest.Photo of Jenifer Alonzo demonstrating a neck roll as a type of warm up exercise.
Roll your head around in a gentle circle.
Keep your jaw relaxed and allow your tongue to relax behind the lower teeth rather than remain clamped to the roof of your mouth.
After ten or so circles, roll your head in the opposite direction ten or so times.

  • Shoulder Drops

Scrunch your shoulders up to your ears and then allow them to drop away.
Do this five or six times.

  • Shoulder Rolls

Roll your shoulders with your arms down at your sides.
Go backwards first and then forwards.

  • Facial Massage

Give your self a facial massage.
Start with the forehead, using four fingers on each hand to make small circles and then larger circles.
Then use the thumb sides of your hands to massage the joint that connects your lower jaw to your upper jaw.
Use two fingers to massage under your eyes and the bridge of your nose.
Finally massage your neck – allowing tension to melt away.
If you are lucky enough to be working with a partner, take turns giving each other a shoulder massage.

  • Whole Face Stretching

Photo of Jenifer Alonzo with her faced opened wide, demonstrating face stretches as a warm-up for public speaking.

Make your face as big as you can – eyes wide, mouth wide, nose wide…Photo of Jenifer Alonzo with her faced scrunched up tight, demonstrating face stretches as a warm-up for public speaking.





Make your face as small as you can – eyes scrunched, mouth pursed, nose pulled in.
Repeat several times.

  • Tongue Stretching

Stick your tongue out as far as it will go.
Stick your tongue towards the back of your mouth as far as it will go.
Stick your tongue out as far as it will go.
Now keeping it out pointing it as far as it will go towards the ceiling … the floor … to the right … and to the left.
Now make circles to the right.
Make circles to the left.
Wipe up as necessary.

  • Lip Stretching

Say wee-wah, wee-wah, wee-wah over and over emphasizing the different lip shapes.

Kiss the air in front of you.Photo of Jenifer Alonzo doing lip stretches, kissing the air as a warm up tool.
Kiss the air behind you.
Kiss to the left.
Kiss to the right.
Make kisses in a circle to the right several times and then to the left several times.

  • Jaw StretchingPhoto of Jenifer Alonzo demonstrating jaw stretches as a warm up tool.

Open your mouth as far as it will go.
Chew as if you are a Tyrannosaurus rex.
Push your lower jaw slightly forward.
Repeat 5 or 6 times.

Now you are relaxed, warmed up and ready to give an awesome talk!!



Give this stretching experiment a try, and send me feedback on your results.  I will respond to each and every one of your emails.

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