How to Conquer Fear of Public Speaking

In One Month, One Day, or One Minute

How to conquer fear of public speaking: speak.
That's not what I wanted to hear. Yet if you ever walk on stage with a dry mouth and shaking hands, look out over the audience with fear, worry about what people are thinking, actually speaking will help you conquer your fear.

Look anywhere and everywhere and you won't find a technique that will actually beat your fear of public speaking that, at some point, doesn't involve the actual act of speaking.

Luckily there are ways to not just overcome fear, but to conquer it. Some take time, some you can do on-the-spot. Read on for How to Conquer Fear of Public Speaking In One Month, One Day, or One Minute.

Interesting Fact: Fear of public speaking is called glossophobia

If you just get the jitters when you walk up on stage, visit Public Speaking Nerves.

One Month

The day is coming. You can feel it, and when it comes, you'll be ready. That's right, the speech is in a month, and in the past you've been afraid. No more. To conquer public speaking fear in one month...

Meditate often.
Take ten quiet minutes each morning and do... nothing! Set a timer for 10 minutes, sit in a comfortable position, and focus on your breathing. Breathe slowly, deeply, letting all other thoughts float by and out of your consciousness. When the ten minutes are up, you'll not only be refreshed and ready for whatever the day can throw at you, but your mind will be more prepared to focus and deliver when the time to speak comes, ready to speak without fear.

Discover Yourself.
Along with meditation, examine your fear of public speaking in-depth. Take another ten minutes each day to write about your fear - what your symptoms are (shaking hands, tight chest, fast heart, etc.), how you react in different speaking situations, and most importantly, what your real fears are. Think about walking up to the podium. What's running through your mind? Are you afraid people are judging you? Are you afraid of embarrassment? Are you not good enough? Then take the time to understand why. Why are you afraid of those things? Have you had any bad experiences with public speaking? Could you have changed the experiences, had you done something differently? What are the results of your experiences?

And then, in the end, change everything you wrote. Once you understand your fear, you can change it. Use the other tips below to help you along the path.

Exercise. Physical fitness plays a big part in your confidence level, whether you realize it or not. Don't kill yourself, don't obsess - but a walk around the block, a run in the morning, a couple of push ups before you turn in will help you overcome fear of public speaking by helping you feel more confident about yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically. Breathing exercises can increase your lung capacity, improve your tone, and leave your feeling refreshed.

Prepare. Up and down, backwards and forwards, maybe even diagonally - know your speech. Know your topic, your audience, and your environment. Prepare for them. And then forget them. Confidence comes from preparation. Of course you're nervous when you walk on stage - but you're even more nervous when you can't remember what point comes next.

Practice. Yes, practice your speech. But also (and perhaps even more importantly), practice confidence. One of my favorite confidence exercises is also a technique I use to practice audience analysis. I call it the MiniPitch:

On Saturday or any time you have free time (or want a challenge), take an object you own but don't want and go to a public place. Then don't let yourself leave until you've sold it. To make it harder, sell something everybody already has. Grab an egg out of the fridge and get more money for it than it cost you. Not only is every success a great confidence booster, but you'll get some pocket change.
But remember: if you never do it, you'll never conquer. The first sell is the hardest. Break the barrier, conquer the fear - not just fear of public speaking, but fear of everything.

Application: What were you afraid of as you went to sell your item? Why were you afraid? How did it actually turn out? How did you psyche yourself up? How will you do even better next time?

Care. You won't be confident if you don't care about your topic. Make it matter to you.

One Day

Find Similar Situations. Change your mindset. The day of the speech, think of similar situations where you've been successful. Find what made it good then, and use it to make it good now. Can't think of any? What about every day, when you see people you know? Talking is talking is talking - a conversational style is usually best anyway. If you can talk when you're not 'publicly speaking,' you can talk when you are!

Change Your Expectations. Don't expect yourself to be perfect - but do expect things to go well. It's not about whether or not you shake, it's about your message. Don't deliver your message. Let your message deliver.

Eat right. Fatty, bloating, unhealthy foods don't do anything for one's confidence level. Some foods, on the other hand, can boost your confidence level. Turkey contains tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that we need to feel good (and to sleep well!). For $25, or for free when you get public speaking tips delivered to your email inbox, you can discover how to Eat Away Fear!

One Minute

Visualize. Take a moment and walk into the room. You're confident, you're in control. Everything will go great.

Breathe. Count to four, slowly. As you do, breathe in. Hold for four (keep it slow), then breathe out for four. Repeat, and repeat again. Finally breathe in, then push it all out as quickly as you can, letting all the nervousness go out with the air. No more. Fear of public speaking out like the wind.

Feel the Burn. Seriously. Pop a small slice of jalapeƱo into your mouth a minute or two before you walk in. Your brain will release endorphins - natural painkillers and confidence boosters. It'll wet your mouth, too. In conjunction with your bananas four hours before, nothing can go wrong.

Stand Firm. During the speech, the butterflies might return. Don't despair, don't forget your preparation. Make the butterflies fly in formation...

And conquer your fear of public speaking forever.

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