10 Ways to Reduce Public Speaking Nervousness
Below are a few simple things you can do to ease some of your nervousness and anxiety from public speaking. These 10 public speaking tips will be presented in a “normal”, knowledge-based way. Watch each video just once, and then click the next button below.
|1. Realize that 90% of Nervousness Doesn’t Show|
Most of the symptoms of nervousness, butterflies, sweaty palms, faster heartbeat, etc., never show to an audience. If you set your notes down on a lectern, the audience won’t be able to see even shaky hands.
|2. Never Write Out Your Presentation Word-for-Word|
Instead, just make brief notes. A little spontaneity adds tremendous character to your talk. Written speeches are almost always boring, and when you read text, it is much more difficult to make a connection with your audience.
|3. Never memorize a talk word for word.|
Memorizing a talk word for word can actually lead to more anxiety. If something out of the ordinary happens or if you ever lose your place, you will put an extreme amount of pressure on yourself to get back. A better way to memorize a talk is to narrow your talk down to just a few main ideas and commit those main ideas to memory. If during your presentation you have additional time, you can add additional details to the main ideas, and if time runs short (which it often does,) you can rest assured that your main points were delivered.
|4. Show up Early.|
Get an idea for the setting, mingle with your audience, and test any equipment that you will be using. Remember, if you are on time for your meeting, you’re late! Show up early, instead.
|5. Take a Deep Breath.|
When many of us get nervous, we tend to take shallow breaths. This robs our brain of oxygen and can create a negative reinforcing cycle. What happens is that we originally take a shallow breath out of nervousness and try to speak. Somewhere along the way, we realize that we won’t be able to finish our sentence, so we speed up. That makes us more nervous, so we breathe even shallower. When this cycle occurs, just pause, take a deep breath, and continue.
|6. Look for a Friendly Face.|
As you are approaching the front, make eye-contact with a few friendly faces in the audience. Smile and they will probably smile back. It will put you both at ease.
|7. Drop your Hands.|
Your hands and your gestures can add great impact to your delivery, but when you are not using your hands, just drop them to your side. It will feel awkward at first, but dropping your hands to your side is the most natural gesture you can use. For instance, when you walk down the hallway at your office, do you cup your hands in front as you walk? Is it more natural to lock your hands behind you when you walk? Probably not. In most situations, it is natural to just let your hands drop to your side. When you do this, it will allow you to make more purposeful gestures when you need to.
|8. Speak on Topics on which You are an Expert.|
One of the reasons that speech classes and toasting clubs can actually make people more nervous is that the topics we choose to present on during these activities are topics that we put together after just a little research. If someone is going to ask you to present about a business topic, the main reason would be because you are the most qualified person to speak about the topic. You are qualified because of your experience. Your delivery should be as casual as if your best friend came up to you and asked, “How is your project going?” This will allow you to deliver your topic is a way that makes the audience feel as if you are talking to each person directly.
|9. Show Energy and Enthusiasm. |
If you aren’t enthusiastic about your topic, no one else will be either. However, if you give your audience energy, they will give energy back to you.
|10. Practice Once (or Twice) with a Partner. |
Rather than practicing your presentation in front of a mirror (when we do this, we tend to find things to nitpick that an audience would never notice,) try practicing your delivery by using it in a conversation with a friend or loved one. “Hey, have I told you about the project I’m working on…”
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