3 Tips To Ease Public Speaking Anxiety
Public speaking is one of the biggest fears. People fear it so much they avoid doing it at all costs even though it is critical for developing career visibility. According to research, the stress response associated with public speaking may be an evolutionary response. Knowing how your brain may react can give you the ability to respond in a positive and more healthy way.
Truth is, almost everyone will be called upon to give a speech or presentation at some point in their career. If you are hoping to advance or get that promotion, learning how to speak with ease is going to give you a huge advantage.
In fact, if you struggle with public speaking, we can help. Be sure to check out our e-course, The Art Of Communication, you will learn how to execute your speaking and interpersonal communications at your highest level.
There are several strategies you can use to ease your public speaking anxiety. Preparation and visualization and are key to easing your anxiety.
The more prepared you are for your presentation, the less anxiety you will feel. There are several ways that you can prepare.
Practice Your Presentation Out Loud – Practicing your presentation out loud is so important. Rehearse what you are going to say is different than practicing in your head.
Create an outline of your speech. Be sure to really know what your beginning middle and end will be. That way if you feel nerves creep in. you will already know where you are going. Speaking out loud can help with that.
Practice With Visuals – Are you incorporating visuals with your speech? If so, practice with them! Be sure to practice exactly as you would during the presentation by referencing it. For example, you can say, “as you can see on the left side…or on the right side.” When it comes time for you to go on stage, you will already feel comfortable with the technology you are using and where to direct listeners.
Mix It Up – When practicing your speech, try to mix up the location and position you are in. For example – try sitting while giving your speech. Then, stand in the kitchen. You can even lie on the floor. When you mix it up you are more likely to remember your presentation because it’s challenging your mind while in different environments.
Tone + Pace – As you practice, be mindful of your tone and pace. If you are nervous, your pace may quicken. You may also lose all differentiation of tone. When you prepare, be sure you are giving your speech with the right tone and correct pace each time. That way those parts of your speech will happen naturally during your presentation. You’re creating muscle memory!
- Part of your preparation should include knowing your audience. Remember the key to any great presentation is keeping your audience engaged.
- Relate to your audience
- Use personal stories
- Prepare concise punchy content
- Use exciting visuals
In our LinkedIn Learning e-course, Mastering Powerful Presentation Strategies, you will learn how to develop a strong presentation and make every speech stand out.
As you prepare for your presentation, your confidence will grow and hopefully, your level of anxiety will lessen. Remember, public speaking gets easier the more times you do it!
Can you see yourself giving the best presentation ever? You should! Our minds are powerful. Instead of visualizing the worst-case scenario – visualize yourself giving the best speech you’ve ever given.
Visualization can also help you during your presentation. Visualize speaking to one person. Your friend perhaps. Most of us aren’t anxious when we have a conversation with a friend. So as you give your speech, ease your public speaking anxiety by visualizing that you are talking with your best friend, not to a large crowd.
A few ways to help your visualization process.
Clear Your Mind – Get rid of any distractions around you. Let yourself think about what it would look like if you gave the best presentation possible.
Take Deep Breaths – Focus on your breath and be sure to breathe from your lower abdomen. Deep breathing will help ease your anxiety before and after your speech. You can even do this right before it’s time to give your presentation.
Listen To Calming Music – You can quiet your mind by listening to quiet music or by listening to nature.
Check-In – Check in with yourself and see if you are clenching your jaw, tightening your fists, having shallow breath. All of these things will tense up your body making you more anxious before a presentation.
💡We recommend the e-course “Mindfulness For Beginners” to learn how mindfulness and visualization can change your mindset.
The more you visualize and believe that you can give an amazing presentation, the more likely it will happen.
3. Nervous Energy
It’s the day of your presentation and you’ve got a ton of nervous energy. You may be giving your speech in an hour or in six hours – whatever the time frame, there are a few things you can do to channel your nervous energy and ease your anxiety.
Excitement – Transform your nervous energy into excitement. If you are showing enthusiasm and excitement, the audience will be too. And the more energy you have the more engaging your presentation will be.
Exercise – Maybe your nervous energy is just too much to take while you wait for your presentation time. If time permits, go for a run or a walk. Expend some energy and release endorphins.
Check Out The Space – If you are speaking in a place you’ve never been before, it is a good idea to get there early and check it out. See exactly where you will be standing – practice giving your speech if time allows. The more familiar you are the less nervous you will be.
In fact, with many of us giving presentations on video call, you can practice in an empty video room to get you comfortable with the virtual environment!
Drink Water – Often times when you are nervous, you get parched. The last thing you want is to lose your voice or begin coughing during your presentation. So be sure to drink water beforehand. It is also a good idea to bring a bottle of water with you. That way, if you feel your mouth getting dry you can take a sip and continue presenting.
Lean in – Sometimes fighting the nerves can make you even more anxious. If you find that trying to get rid of your anxiousness isn’t working, lean in and accept that you will be anxious, just don’t let it control you. Remember, almost everyone has jitters right before a big speech. The key is controlling it that best fits you!
The key to easing public speaking anxiety comes down to ample preparation. Don’t just put all your time on creating the content. 50% of your prep should be practicing the delivery.
The worst is to have a great deck but the message just doesn’t resonate. What a waste!
Preparing your speech, your mind, and your body for what is to come is how you can set yourself up for speaking success. Remember, most people get nervous before a big presentation. But the good news is – your audience is rooting for you. They want you to succeed! Think positive.
Be sure to check out our course recommendations above that’ll guide you on your speaking success.
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