How to overcome presentation anxiety on public speaking will help you know how to boost your confidence on public speaking
Preparing to Give a Speech
In addition to traditional treatment, there are a number of strategies that you can use to cope with speech anxiety and become better at public speaking in general.
Public speaking is like any activity—better preparation equals a better performance.
When you are better prepared, it will boost your confidence and make it easier to concentrate on delivering your message.
Visualize something positive. “Imagine something that you love is in the room with you, or even keep a picture of something you love on the podium, or in your pocket,” suggests Mark Heaps on Duarte.com.
“I’ve seen great speakers keep images of their children on their teleprompter because of this technique.”
Finesse the flaws. When I was 12 years old, and getting coached on how to sing in front of hundreds of people for my Bar Mitzvah, my coach gave me some simple but practical advice:
“If you mess up, keep going.
No one else will notice.” His point was that I was the only one in the room with a script (or, in this case, the scripture).
Today, as a novelist who often gives readings in front of crowds, the situation is similar.
I can garble or misread my own words, but I just keep going. If I act like the mistake isn’t a big deal to me, then it won’t be a big deal to my audience.
Whether you are giving a speech at a wedding, a shareholders’ convention, or in a college classroom, there are strategies that you can use when it comes to managing anxiety.
Even if you have SAD, with proper treatment and time invested in preparation, you can deliver a successful speech or presentation.
Choose a topic that interests you. If you are able, choose a topic that you are excited about.
If you are not able to choose the topic, try using an approach to the topic that you find interesting.
For example, you could tell a personal story from your life that relates to the topic, as a way to introduce your speech.
This will ensure that you are engaged in your topic and motivated to research and prepare.
When you present, others will feel your enthusiasm and be interested in what you have to say.
If there is something that would make you more comfortable during your speech or presentation, see if it’s a change that can be made.
Ask for a podium, have a pitcher of ice water handy, bring in audiovisual equipment, or even choose to stay seated if appropriate
whatever might make it easier for you to manage your anxiety.
Don’t script it. Have you ever sat through a speech where someone read from a prepared script word for word?
You probably don’t recall much of what was said.
Instead, prepare a list of key points on 8.5” X 11” paper that you can refer to.
Say something like, “Thanks for that important question” or “I really appreciate your comment.”
Convey that you are open-minded and relaxed.
If you don’t know how to answer the question, say you will look into it.
Before your presentation, try to anticipate hard questions and critical comments that might arise and prepare responses ahead of time.
Practice, practice, practice! Even people who are comfortable speaking in public rehearse their speeches many times to get them right.
Practicing your speech 10, 20, or even 30 times will give you confidence in your ability to deliver.
If your talk has a time limit, time yourself during practice runs and adjust your content as needed to fit within the time that you have.
Lots of practice will help boost your self-confidence.
Get some perspective. During a practice run, speak in front of a mirror or record yourself on a smartphone.
Make note of how you appear and identify any nervous habits to avoid. This step is best done after you have received therapy or medication to manage your anxiety.
Imagine yourself succeeding. Did you know your brain can’t tell the difference between an imagined activity and a real one?
That is why elite athletes use visualization to improve athletic performance.
As you practice your speech (remember 10, 20, or even 30 times!), imagine yourself wowing the audience with your amazing oratorical skills.
Over time, what you imagine will be translated into what you are capable of.
Not sure whether this would really work? Well, let’s consider the opposite.
If you imagine giving a horrible speech and having terrible anxiety—what do you think is going to happen?
The cycle of anxiety in SAD is as much a self-fulfilling prophecy as it is a reaction to an event.
Learn to visualize success and your body will follow suit.
Develop a routine. Put together a routine for managing anxiety on the day of a speech or presentation.
Set goals. Instead of trying to just scrape by, make it a personal goal to become an excellent public speaker With proper treatment and lots of practice, you can become good at speaking in public and overcome anxiety.
If in the end you find that public speaking isn’t one of your strengths, remember that it is only one aspect of your life. We all have strengths in different areas.
Instead, make it a goal simply to be more comfortable in front of an audience,
so that public speaking anxiety doesn’t prevent you from achieving other goals in life.
A Word From Verywell
In the end, preparing well for a speech or presentation gives you confidence that you have done everything possible to succeed.