It’s normal to be nervous about public speaking but taking steps to overcome your anxiety will help you stay calm and speak clearly. Many speakers found that saying “Don’t be afraid” to themselves does not work.
Here are some practical ways to manage anxiety and turn it to a positive factor:
1. Identify the root cause of your anxiety
Identifying what trigger your anxiety will help you face your fear and more effectively manage it. So you can get yourself out of fear of public speaking. For example, if you are afraid that you will mispronounce some hard words, you can look them up and practice pronouncing until you are confident.
2. Prepare thoroughly for the speech
Preparation is a key component of successful presentation. Practice and rehearse until you know your topic and messages by heart.
It also means making sure logistics are all set well in advance. You want to remain relaxed and focused, rather than worrying whether the audiovisual equipment will work, or your note cards will mess up.
3. Practice warm-up before the speech
Get your body and mind ready for the speech. Some simple warm-up exercises may be taking several slow deep breaths, making and holding your first tight for five seconds and relax (repeat several times), thinking of yourself in the most relaxing place you know.
4. Clear your mind of negative self-talk
Self-talk, like beliefs, drive behavior. Negative self-talk such as “I am not a good public speaker.” Or “I am going to fail for sure.” can form big mental challenges to the success.
Most time, negative thinking is the result of poor perspective. Visualize yourself successfully giving a smooth performance before you go on stage. Projecting your success will help clearing negative thoughts and be more confident.
5. Focus on your message, not yourself.
Some speakers get very nervous because they focus entirely on themselves. Speakers should focus more on the message they are delivering. The audience are there because they want to learn something from you or be motivated from you.
6. Take your time.
Mind your pace from the beginning. Don’t start talking right away. Quietly walk out on stage, stand up straight, take a deep breath, wait a couple of seconds and begin. Don’t speed through your talk because fast speech rate will make you sound nervous.