Feeling Anxious about Public Speaking? Four Tips to Help!

“There are only two types of speakers in the world. 1. The nervous and 2. Liars.” -Mark Twain

Does the thought of speaking in front of your peers send shivers down your spine? Can you think of a plethora of things you would rather do instead? Do your hands become instantly clammy at the thought of hearing your voice projecting across a crowded room? 

If these are your internal thoughts when public speaking is mentioned, you aren’t alone! While some people are natural story tellers, for others, it is more of a challenge. In many cases, it makes individuals feel increasingly anxious, and as a result, they often avoid the opportunity. However, today, we would like to offer some tips to help mitigate your anxiety about public speaking. 

  1. Speak about what you know 

If you have been asked to speak, or are considering speaking at an event, then you are either regarded as an expert in your field, which is an instant confidence boost, or you feel compelled to contribute to something you are passionate about. The better you understand, and the more you know about the topic you will be speaking on, the less likely you are to get off track. And, if you do, you will be confident to recover quickly. Take the opportunity to do some public speaking in more intimate venues, with less of a crowd, and with people you know or respect. This will help build your confidence, and may give you the boost, and fire, to speak to a larger group. 

  1. Practice, practice, practice! 

The more familiar you are with your material, the more comfortable you will feel delivering it. Rehearsing out loud, preferably in front of a mirror or a supportive group of friends, can help you iron out any wrinkles in your speech and improve your delivery. Be open to feedback from others, and don’t let constructive criticism stand in your way. Rather, use it to tweak your speech, and finesse your words to ensure you are presenting the best version to your audience. 

  1. Get personal 

When delivering a speech, the more relatable you are, the more likely you will connect with your audience. The art of storytelling is compelling, and a beneficial addition to any delivery. Consider who you will be talking to, your material, and how you can weave your own narrative. This aspect will not only engage your audience, but it will help you deliver your speech with added conviction and passion.  

“Humans connect with humans more effectively through relatable human feelings than recognizable events, so try to share a key learning, insight, or realization that sprung from the occasion.”

Inc. 
  1. Seek support 

Being a part of a supportive group or network can have significant benefits. BNI, for example, is a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and present to a smaller audience. Additionally, you are surrounded by like-minded individuals who are cheering you on along the way. Whether you need advice on a presentation, feedback, or the opportunity to hear others speak, there are many ways being a member of BNI can boost your confidence.  

Keep in mind that nerves are a natural part of public speaking. However, with each speaking opportunity, you open yourself up for growth and improvement. Seize the next chance that comes your way and find the power in your voice

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