How to Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety

by Jason on May 14, 2009

overcome public speaking anxiety

Has your fear of public speaking ever let you down?

Does your fear of speaking in front of a crowd immediately speed up your heart beat?

Does the thought bring on clammy hands, nausea, shaking body, blushing cheeks and shortness of breath?

If your answer is yes to any or all of these questions, the bad news is, you have glossophobia – known as fear of public speaking.

The worse news is, if such fear of public speaking already negatively affects your personal, work and social life, then you have what’s known as public speaking anxiety, which is a social anxiety disorder.

So much for the bad news, the good news is, first, you are not alone as it is the most commonly reported social anxiety disorder and second, you can overcome it

Although cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you overcome public speaking anxiety, the best treatment to it is helping yourself with an applicable strategy.

Here are some tips for you to overcome public speaking anxiety.

Acceptance
Your first enemy if you have public speaking anxiety is yourself. In accepting that, challenge yourself that you can overcome your public speaking anxiety.

Preparation
The key to a successful speech is preparation. Know your material well. Your ability to communicate with your listeners depends on the quality of your research. You can never be confident in delivering a haphazardly prepared presentation. Know that ultimately, nothing can go wrong if you are ready and prepared for anything.

Practice
Practice makes it perfect. To overcome pubic speaking anxiety, rehearsal is a must. Time your speech and treat each rehearsal as if it is the big day. Begin this exercise by facing yourself in front of the mirror while delivering your speech. If you feel comfortable with that, invite a friend to hear your speech. Once you have become comfortable speaking in the presence someone else, invite some friends and members of your family to hear you talk in order to prepare you for a bigger crowd. Do this until you feel comfortable in public speaking to a number of people. I find this to be particularly helpful for giving a wedding speech or a best man speech.

Bulleting
Memorizing what you have to say is the worst thing you can do as you may forget your words. It is more effective if you make bullets points in paper (not cards). Never read your speech because reading is not public speaking.

Be early to the venue
If you are given the chance to visit the venue before the big day, better grab that opportunity and practice delivering your presentation on the very same podium where you will engage in public speaking. On the big day, overcome your public speaking anxiety by being at least an hour early at the venue so that you can make yourself comfortable with the environment. Approach the podium and stay there for a while until your public speaking anxiety is reduced. Don’t rush. Just breathe.

Relax
Always tell yourself that it is normal to feel nervous. Even seasoned speakers still feel jittery right before a public speaking engagement. Think of positive thoughts and reduce your public speaking anxiety by taking deep breaths. Talk socially to people before the program begins as it will help you reduce stammering.

Engage your audience
While waiting for the program to start, introduce yourself to your audience so that you will feel comfortable talking to them. Maintain eye contact with your audience, especially those whom you know, as it creates a connection.

Remedy when you lose track
If you lose track of the sequence of your speech and you don’t know what to say next to , do not panic. One technique to get away with this is to throw a question to your audience. The time they take in answering will give you ample to time to reorganize your thoughts and get back on track. Such interactive method will not only help you overcome your public speaking anxiety but can also enliven your presentation.

The good thing about giving your first speech and overcoming your public speaking anxiety will help you gain experience and confidence, thus, making the second and the subsequent speaking engagements easier to deal with. Face your public speaking anxiety now and do not let it control your life.

Keep the above tips in mind so that you’ll never miss a wedding, decline a promotion, flee, faint or make a fool out of yourself again.

As always, you can always find more great tips and tricks on overcoming your anxiety throughout the site. In the meantime, check out the “Panic Away” program here and learn how you can end ALL anxiety permanently.

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Eric Dana Hansen May 14, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Good post. I especially liked your point about engaging the audience.

In my recently published Christmas novel, the main character, Ian, has to undergo some management training. However, he almost backs out when he discovers that public speaking is part of the deal!

He sticks with it, though and soon learns an interesting technique from one of his internet searches. It’s all about how to mingle and network with people before an event. He tries some of the tips by helping his new friend, Elise, with some administrative functions prior to the speech class. It gives him an opportunity to chat with some of the other class members. He discovers that they have the same fears he does. It makes him feel a lot better. And, in the process of going around the room, he feels kind of like a host. It’s a real confidence builder!

All the best!
Eric Dana Hansen, Author of “IAN, CEO, North Pole”

MB March 24, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I had a fear of doing stuff in public for over 5 years, i started to do these things again for the past 2 years, and i dont understand why i am still anxious when thinking of doing it, what if this time i will feel bad? what will i do about this? this is still scary etc.

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