Believe it or not, even professional speakers face public speaking anxiety. (Aka “glossophobia.” How’s that for a big word?) For instance, when you finally land a big speaking engagement, do you worry about it for weeks in advance? Or perhaps right before you hit the stage your sweat glands start pumping, your heart starts pounding, your hands start shaking, and your voice start quivering.
For me, public speaking anxiety presents itself in yawning. Yes, you read that correctly…yawning! About five minutes before it’s time to present, I often start to yawn. It’s the strangest thing.
How can speakers deal with public speaking anxiety? Try these three public speaking tips to combat your nerves.
Combating Public Speaking Anxiety
Days Before Your Presentation. Prepare well. I know, this is common knowledge, but plans don’t fail because of a lack of common knowledge. They fail because common knowledge doesn’t always translate into common action. Therefore, if you want your presentation to be solid, don’t neglect the ACTION of preparation. This not only means putting together great content, it also includes practicing how you deliver your content. 20 percent of successful speech preparation is developing solid content. The other 80 percent comes from practicing your delivery!
Day of Your Presentation. Professional athletes follow a routine before games. Professional musicians do the same before performances. It only makes sense professional speakers should have a routine before presentations as well. Mine includes exercising, stretching, mentally walking through my presentation, arriving early to make sure everything is set according to my rider, and using Entertainer’s Secret before I hit the stage. Nothing combats public speaking anxiety on the day of your presentation like following a routines. (I don’t even yawn as much any more.)
During Your Presentation. Don’t sweat the small stuff. The time to practice effective presentation skills like gestures, eye contact, and the speed and pitch of your voice is long before you’re onstage. Once you hit the stage, focusing on these kind of details cause you to be robotic and mechanical. Just deliver your content. Even more, do it with passion and enthusiasm. If you want to work on presentations skills during your speech, pick one skill to work on so you don’t get distracted from your main purpose.
Questions: Which of these three public speaking tips is most helpful for you in combating public speaking anxiety? Are there any speaking tips would you add to this list?