Public speaking anxiety is more common than you might think, with many people admitting they'd prefer to visit the DENTIST than make a speech in public!
Everyone has some anxiety when speaking in front of an audience - even experienced speech-makers!
You need to acknowledge that it is perfectly reasonable to have some fear and that you are not alone.
Public speaking anxiety, also known as glossophobia, is a common fear many people experience. Several factors can contribute to this anxiety, including:
Other factors may contribute to public speaking anxiety, such as a lack of confidence, fear of failure, or a general fear of being in the spotlight.
The good news is that there ARE ways to overcome public speaking anxiety, and I'm going to share a few with you here!
Most public speaking anxiety sets in well before you have to stand in front of your audience and begin your speech. So the tips below will help you prepare yourself in advance.
And at the end of the page, you'll find a link to even MORE tips, sent in by visitors to this website.
Use these ideas in combination, and you'll be well on your way to fearless public speaking!
Practice your speech in front of a mirror until you become comfortable looking directly at yourself and speaking out loud.
When you get in front of your audience, you can pick out one person or more to whom you speak directly. Since you've practiced your speech in front of a mirror until you've felt comfortable, those feelings will carry over as you talk to someone in the audience. You can imagine you are talking out loud to yourself!
Visualize yourself in front of your audience giving a successful speech. Just sit and close your eyes and imagine yourself on stage, in front of a podium or wherever you will be giving your presentation. See yourself feeling confident and comfortable sharing your knowledge with the audience.
Visualize people coming up to you after your speech to thank and congratulate you. Think about past successes in your life, not just in the public speaking arena, but any growth you've had. Use the feelings that come up when you replay these scenes in your mind to help you connect to what you are wanting to feel when giving your presentation.
Take a few moments to breathe slowly and deeply before you start your speech. Public speaking anxiety often causes symptoms such as difficulty breathing, heart palpitations, and more. So taking the time to breathe consciously will help relieve these symptoms.
Use positive affirmations and encouraging self-talk to help you build your self-esteem. Feeling confident in your ability to give a great presentation comes with believing that you can.
Act as if you are confident! Think about a great public speaker you know. How do they stand? Do they move on stage? Do they smile? What do they wear? Emulate them. Pretend that you are this person you admire until you feel their essence within you. Have fun with this! Recreate a speech you've seen then give and present it to an imaginary audience.
You CAN get control of your anxiety and become an excellent public speaker. It's a matter of having the desire and willingness to break through the barriers of what is holding you back.
There is a program that has helped me enormously in my search for freedom from anxiety when speaking in public. It helps you to incorporate positive self-talk in your life which is so essential to feeling prepared and self-assured in your presentations. I love it because all I do is put the CD on and press play. Find out more about fearless public speaking1 and how to lessen your anxiety.
[Full disclosure: Best Speech Topics is a compensated affiliate of Think Right Now.]
And here are some more great public speaking anxiety tips sent in by visitors, plus ten tips to help you get over your fear of public speaking!
Sometimes, fear is more than an insignificant performance hindering reaction to nervousness about public speaking. Persons with recurring anxiety might consider Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Known as CBT, this therapy is a short-term, evidence-based treatment for many problems, including anxiety disorder. Scientists base CBT on the idea that thoughts (cognitions) and behaviors affect the way we feel. The Think Right Now program, an affiliate of Best Speech Topics, uses a form of self-driven therapy for building tools to control the negative thinking that can lead to nerves. Meanwhile, universities and communities provide group settings or licensed therapists proven effective at CBT. A doctor can recommend a therapist or, sometimes, medications, to help with anxiety or depression.