From Anxiety to Authority: Overcoming Being the Nervous Public Speaker

WRITTEN January 24, 2024 Author: Rich Atkins

Public speaking often makes people anxious, but it is a powerful tool for communicating and making an impact.Many of us get nervous speaking in front of others, but we shouldn’t let it stop us from speaking up. The best antidote to fear or nervousness is, believe it or not, embracing it–moving forward anyway. Surprisingly, by facing our fears head-on, we pave the way to reducing them over time.

Think back on all the times in your life when you have been the most nervous, the most fearful. In most cases, our fears were way worse than what really ended up happening. Usually, the actual situation is far better than what our fears told us it would be.

For Less. Do More. NIKEWhen 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. “Fear less. Do more. Get outside and get after it.”

The following ideas will help you embrace and triumph over being the nervous public speaker:

Shifting the Focus: From Self to Message

The key is to shift your focus from self-consciousness to the message you are there to deliver. It’s about sharing valuable information with your audience, not dwelling on your own nerves. As the saying goes, “UB4me” – You Before Me. Make sure your ideas are communicated clearly and confidently.

Embracing Normalcy: Fear as an Indicator of Care

Recognize that fear is a normal response; it indicates that you care about the outcome. Instead of viewing nervousness as a weakness, channel it into positive energy. Swap “I am nervous” with “I am excited.” This subtle shift can make a world of difference in your mindset.

Techniques for Relaxation: The Power of Preparation

Master relaxation techniques to calm nerves before speaking. Practice deep breathing, visualize success, and maintain a humble and humorous demeanor. Knowing your material inside-out builds confidence, making it easier to navigate through the presentation seamlessly.

Know Your Audience: Tailor Your Approach

Conduct research to understand your audience better. Knowing their interests and preferences enables you to tailor your speech, creating a stronger connection. Personalizing your content makes the audience more receptive and enhances your confidence.

Say “Yes” to Opportunities: Building Confidence Through Practice

Every opportunity to speak is a chance to build confidence. Say “yes” to speaking engagements, even if they seem challenging. The more you practice, the more comfortable and self-assured you become. Remember, practice makes perfect.

Embracing Imperfections: The Human Touch

Mistakes are inevitable, but rather than apologizing for them, embrace them as part of being human. Being genuine and authentic resonates with audiences, making you more relatable. Remember, imperfections can be endearing.

Revisit these strategies, you’ll notice that the very habits causing fear can be transformed into the building blocks of successful public speaking. Instead of fixating on failure, envision success. Replace anxiety with excitement, realize that the power to conquer nervousness lies within your hands.

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.
Image by claude_star from Pixabay

Other Resources for a Nervous Public Speaker:

Number One Technique to Reduce Public Speaking Anxiety (Video)

Why Are We Scared Of Public Speaking?

Top Ten Presentation Tips for Nervous Public Speakers

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