Public Speaking Anxiety

         As I said in the "Delivery Tips" section, public speaking is the number one fear of American adults!  I know that I, or anyone else, can tell you why it shouldn't be - but I also know that telling you that won't make it any easier...  So here's the REAL trick:  

It's not about not being nervous.  
It's about not looking nervous.

          Seriously!  I've been doing various forms of public speaking for almost a decade now, and I'm still nervous every single time.  You just learn to control it - or even better, use that nervous energy to help you!  With that energy, you can add more oomph to your speech - more enthusiasm, more spunk.  The audience loves that stuff.

          But there are other tricks to calm the nerves before getting up there for the big show.  Here are a few you may want to try:


  • Know Your Place - I said this in the previous section, but really think about it.  You're supposed to be up there giving a speech.  You're not doing something weird, bold, risky, or stupid - you're supposed to be doing it!  Remember that - you'll feel better.
  • Rehearse - I said this in the previous section, too, and it's still true!  The more comfortable you are with your speech in private, the easier it is to transition to public.   Think of the nervousness as having various contributing factors:  part of it is because of the stress of talking in front of people, and part of it is because of the stress of doing the speech right.  Rehearsal in private takes care of that second part better than anything else, and rehearsal in public helps both!  
  • Breathe! - You need air to speak, but you'd be amazed to see how many people try to deliver presentations on quick and shallow breaths.  Breathe.  Normally.  Ahhhhh.
  • Slow Down - Many nervous speakers tend to speed up.  This can complicate things quickly - namely, neither your mouth or your brain can keep up.  When your mouth can't keep up, you trip over your tongue, and that's never fun - speakers can get flustered and become a nasty oratorical train wreck.  When your brain can't keep up, you run out of words to say - and your mouth starts using fillers like "um" and "uh," which never sound too good.  Slooooow is goooooood.