Are you afraid of public speaking?

You're not alone! Public speaking not only makes a lot of people nervous but is the second most common fear in the United States, with 40% of Americans answering that they're afraid of public speaking.

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Public speaking still makes me nervous, but through the following 4 strategies, I have learned to control my anxiety and become a more effective public speaker.

1. Prepare

Make sure you know your topic! The more you prepare, the more comfortable you'll feel and you'll be less likely to make a mistake. You'll feel more prepared to respond to any audience questions.

Moira Rose says

You'll also need to prepare for the delivery of your speech or presentation. Make sure you have prepared your:

  • slideshow deck

  • note cards with speaking points

  • props as visual aids


What should you include on your note cards?

2. Practice, practice, practice!

You've likely heard the old saying, "Practice makes perfect." The more you practice your speech or presentation ahead of time, the more comfortable you'll feel.

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Practice in a variety of ways:

  • By yourself.

  • With trusted friends, family, or colleagues. This will help to build up your confidence.

  • In front of people you don't know. This will help you get used to giving your speech in front of strangers.

  • Watching yourself in front of the mirror or recording yourself. That way, you can see what you look and sound like presenting and make changes as necessary.

3. Get in the right headspace

  1. Do some deep breathing or meditation before your speech. Apps such as Headspace, Calm, and Healthy Minds Program can also offer guided practice in deep breathing and meditation.

Guided meditation. Inhale (4 seconds), pause (1 second), exhale (4 seconds)

  1. Take a minute to visualize yourself delivering your speech or presentation successfully. Visualization can help with nerves and anxiety. Believe in yourself and you'll be a more successful public speaker!

A woman saying, :I can do anything.

4. Delivering your speech

You've prepared, practiced, and gotten in the right headspace. Now it's time for the big speech or presentation!

Woman giving a presentation to clapping colleagues in front of a screen. Photo by Windows on Unsplash

  1. Take a few deep breaths.

  2. Focus on the material of your speech and not on the audience. They're paying attention to the information, not your nerves, and likely won't notice if you're nervous.

  3. Be prepared for a bit of silence. If you get off track or need to pause, take a few deep breaths, and continue as normal.

Take Action

The words Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

Public speaking can be scary, but by using these strategies, you can overcome your nervousness and become a better public speaker, just like I did.

Knock your next speech or presentation out of the park!


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