Overcome Being the Nervous Public Speaker

WRITTEN February 9, 2014 Author: Rich Atkins

Most people have some degree of nervousness when speaking in public. But being the nervous public speaker should not hold you back. The best antidote to fear or nervousness is, believe it or not, embracing it–moving forward anyway. Once you start, the fear begins to decrease. In most cases, our fears are worse than what really ends up happening. Usually, the actual situation is far better than what our fears told us it would be.

When we use the word “fearless,” we don’t really mean that one is completely without fear! It means that the speaker can go ahead and do well, despite the fear. The Nike slogan applies quite well here.

The following ideas will help you embrace and triumph over public-speaking Nervousness:

  • Focus on the message–not yourself. UB4I
  • Remember that fear is normal (it means you care).
  • Turn nervousness into positive energy.
  • Learn and practice relaxation techniques.
  • Be humble and humorous.
  • Know your audience–do research, if possible.
  • Know your material.
  • Practice–only deliver speeches that you practiced.
  • Gain experience by saying “yes” every time you’re offered the opportunity to speak to a group (more practice builds confidence).
  • Visualize a success.
  • Realize people want you to succeed.
  • Don’t apologize for small mistakes.
  • Be human–mistakes are acceptable.
  • Be yourself–be natural.

Try these positive approaches for reducing speaker anxiety:

  • Expect favorable results
  • Rehearse
  • Practice Breathing Techniques
  • Video record yourself

This information is from the Improving Communications Public Speaking: Improving Presentation Skills class. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.


Photo by Boris Baldinger.

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