There are two types of speakers. Those who get nervous and those who are liars.― Mark Twain
If you are nervous or anxious about speaking in public, you’re not alone. In fact, a fear of public speaking affects anywhere from 40 to 75 percent of the population, depending on what studies you look at. There’s even a medical term for it: glossophobia.
The truth is that you may never completely eliminate your fear. But I promise you that you can reduce it significantly. In fact, I am a case study for doing just that. When I was younger I did a lot of acting. I used to get so nervous before going on stage that I would actually tremble. You could see my hands shaking if you looked closely enough, and my nervousness was easy to hear in my voice.
As with anything else in life, it’s preparation and practice that will help you reduce the anxiety you have about public speaking.
Here are some tips that will help:
- Don’t try to be perfect. The fear of public speaking often stems from a fear of imperfection. The fact is that no one ever gets it 100 percent right every time, and neither will you. And that’s okay.
- Know your stuff. The more prepared you are when it comes to the topic of your presentation, the more confident you will feel. Don’t forget to also consider (and practice answering) the questions you’ll likely get from your audience.
- Use your audience to your advantage. When you can get your audience involved in your presentation, it’s much easier for you to deliver and much more engaging for them. Win-win.
- Practice until you’re sick of practicing. And do it out loud! Recruit family, friends, or colleagues to give you feedback on your presentation. You can also record yourself giving the presentation and watch it back. I do this with every speech or workshop I create.
Want more tips for reducing nervousness and anxiety when speaking in public? Take my 20-minute quick class: Public Speaking When You Hate Public Speaking.