We get anxious for a lot of reasons. Sometimes, your anxiety is trying to pass a message, and that message is “leave this place immediately.” At other times, it can be an impediment that prevents you from doing something you want to (or have to) do.
We get anxious when we’re around new people when we find ourselves in situations that draw attention to us when we’re in an uncomfortable environment, and so on. Public speaking has all three of these, so it isn’t unnatural to get anxious before going on stage.
This is why tips to overcoming public speaking anxiety are necessary, especially if you’re new to the biz. Public speaking anxiety has its term—glossophobia—and is considered a very common social fear.
The condition even has symptoms that have been observed before. It can leave you shaking, dizzy, breathing shallowly, having a racing heartbeat, and even developing stomach upsets.
To anyone who’s ever had an anxiety attack, these symptoms might be familiar. They stem from our intrinsic nature to flee or fight when we feel cornered or uncomfortable. Our bodies respond by pumping us full of adrenalin in preparation for either action and sometimes it is possible to lose control over your body completely.
What’s worse is that people suffering from social anxiety disorder (SAD) can be forced to spend every waking moment obsessing and worrying over their upcoming speech. This can be days, weeks, or even months before they’re scheduled to speak in public!
Over the years, anxious speakers have come up with tips that will help you save face on your big day on the stage. As said before, these are a necessity for anyone that doesn’t want to be reduced to a blubbering mess on stage. Without further delay, herein are 5 tips to see you through your speech.
1. Give Yourself a Tour of the Venue
You can save yourself some extra panic by familiarizing yourself with the venue beforehand. Get to know where everything will be stationed—the speakers, the microphone, the podium, the audience—and you will give yourself the advantage of thoroughly knowing your layout.
When the time comes for the speech, you will be able to confidently stroll to the podium and position yourself as desired, all because you took the time to conduct some early reconnaissance.
2. Leave the Cue Cards at Home
If you’ve attended speeches where the speaker constantly referred to a set of cue cards or some other written aids, then you understand how quickly you can lose the audience with this technique. People are quite perceptive, and they are more appreciative of words that seem to come naturally from your mind.
You can have cue cards while practicing for your speech at home, but stepping onto the podium with a stack of cards is only going to make you more nervous. What if you lose one card? What if you forget how one card leads to the other? There are too many opportunities for your anxiety to sneak back in and take you by surprise.
To prevent this, work on your speech at home and memorize the key points, then allow your mind to do the rest when you’re on stage.
3. Practice. Practice a lot!
You won’t get good at anything if you don’t practice. If you would prefer not to lose your trail of thought mid-speech, this is what you should do as well. The more you practice your speech, the more confident you become over time.
Furthermore, practicing allows you to keep your speech within the allocated time if there’s a time limit. Otherwise, you become more sure of your ability to deliver the more you recite the speech.
4. Talk About Something that Interests You Deeply
Find a topic that you’re passionate about. If it relates to you or your life in any way, even better! You will be more motivated to prepare for the speech, and being something that you’re more familiar with, you will be confident in your ability to convey the message as it is required.
Enthusiasm is contagious, and if you show the audience that you’re excited about something, they will be just as excited to hear about it.
5. Create an Anti-Anxiety Routine
What is it that helps you quell your anxiety attacks? Is it a mantra that you recite? Is it an object that you hold on to? Whatever it is, it needs to be a part of your routine before you step out onto the stage. The routine should be able to put you back in a proper frame of mind.
Some exercise to get rid of anxiety, others opt for treatments, and others meditate. It all depends on what you prefer.
WILL I BE A BETTER SPEAKER?
Public speaking anxiety tips only serve to reduce the amount of panic and fear that comes with speaking to large audiences. By being a more confident person overall, you become a better, more composed speaker.
The audience will listen to you more keenly since it will be evident that you have something important to say. Hopefully, these
overcoming public speaking anxiety will help you overcome your fear of speaking in public for good, or at least teach you how to maintain your composure when delivering speeches.
To Your Publick Speaking Success,
Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking