Public Speaking Anxiety
As I said
in the "Delivery Tips" section, public speaking is
the number one fear of American adults! I know that
I, or anyone else, can tell you why it shouldn't be - but
I also know that telling you that won't make it any
easier... So here's the REAL trick:
It's not about not being
It's about not looking nervous.
Seriously! I've been doing various forms of public
speaking for almost a decade now, and I'm still nervous
every single time. You just learn to control it - or
even better, use that nervous energy to help
you! With that energy, you can add more oomph to
your speech - more enthusiasm, more spunk. The
audience loves that stuff.
But there are other tricks to calm the nerves before
getting up there for the big show. Here are a few
you may want to try:
- Know Your Place - I said this in the previous
section, but really think about it. You're supposed
to be up there giving a speech. You're not doing
something weird, bold, risky, or stupid - you're supposed
to be doing it! Remember that - you'll feel
- Rehearse - I said this in the previous
section, too, and it's still true! The more
comfortable you are with your speech in private, the
easier it is to transition to public.
Think of the nervousness as having various
contributing factors: part of it is because of
the stress of talking in front of people, and part of
it is because of the stress of doing the speech right.
Rehearsal in private takes care of that second part
better than anything else, and rehearsal in public
- Breathe! - You need air to speak, but you'd
be amazed to see how many people try to deliver
presentations on quick and shallow breaths.
Breathe. Normally. Ahhhhh.
- Slow Down - Many nervous speakers tend to
speed up. This can complicate things quickly - namely,
neither your mouth or your brain can keep up.
When your mouth can't keep up, you trip over your
tongue, and that's never fun - speakers can get
flustered and become a nasty oratorical train
wreck. When your brain can't keep up, you run
out of words to say - and your mouth starts using
fillers like "um" and "uh," which
never sound too good. Slooooow is goooooood.