Try these 10 tips to get over your nervousness and to develop confidence while speaking.
- Be prepared
Know that even experienced speakers get nervous, so expect nervousness before your presentation. Don’t force your jitters away. Accept them and turn them into energy you can use to boost your delivery.
- Get ready
Spend some time preparing so that you know what you are going to say – and the purpose behind it.
- Work on it
To get better at something, one must practice. Try to speak to supportive audiences in small forums where less is at stake. Join Toastmasters, take a Dale Carnegie course or work with a coach.
- Slow down
In the few seconds before you begin speaking, take three slow, deep breaths through your nose, filling your belly. As you breathe out, tell yourself to relax
Practice out loud but don’t memorize your speech word for word. Talk it through, point by point. Picture yourself explaining main ideas to a friend.
- Focus on your audience
Stage fright is rooted in self-preoccupation. (Thoughts like “How am I doing?” “Am I making any sense?” can be intrusive) Stop focusing on yourself. Focus, instead, on your audience. (Think thoughts like “How are you?” “Are you getting this?” “Can you hear me?”)
Most speakers try to do too much in a speech and so they worry about leaving something out or losing their train of thought. Aim, instead, to communicate one basic and strong idea and keep it short and simple.
- Visualize success
Practice relaxation techniques in the days before your presentation. Lie down or sit comfortably in a quiet place. Breathe slowly. Close your eyes. Imagine your upcoming speaking engagement and picture yourself speaking with confidence.
- Connect with your audience
Make the audience your allies. Talk to individuals before your presentation to get to know them. Look them in the eye as you speak to them, one person at a time. When your audience sides with you, your job as a speaker becomes easier.
- Fake it
People won’t see how nervous you are, so don’t tell them. Smile. Stick your chest out. Look confident, even if you don’t feel it.