Overcome Public Speaking Nerves

What to do when you're not afraid, just a bit jittery.

5 powerful ways to overcome public speaking nerves and make the butterflies fly in formation.

Do you feel a bit jittery when you walk up to give a speech? It's no panic attack, but your mouth gets a bit dry and your mind a bit slow? Public speaking nerves are common, even among the best and most experienced speakers. Here's five tips for overcoming the jitters and using nerves to your advantage.

Do you have a great way to beat the jitters? Share it! Also, read and comment on what others do to quell their public speaking nerves.

  • Understand fear. Fear is a bodily response to situations that we somehow believe may harm us. People are afraid of heights for good reason: one can fall and die. Public speaking, however, is another matter. Recognizing this difference can go a long way in overcoming nerves. As you walk up, remember that no bodily harm will come because of your speech. At least, I hope won't ;-).
  • Prepare. If you're prepared, there is no need to fear. Spend the time you need to get ready. Don't let pre-speech nerves freeze you up, but instead use the extra energy to get even more ready. When you've done all you can, stop and let it go. You're prepared, so you'll do well.
  • Recognize that the audience wants you to succeed. No one wants to listen to a poor speaker. That fact might be intimidating, but look on the bright side - your audience will want you to do well! They want you to succeed. No one is rooting against you. Remember that as you walk on stage.
  • Don't speak, converse. As you give your speech, take yourself out of the "public speaking" mindset. Instead, think of yourself having a conversation. It's no more stressful than talking to friends over dinner.
  • Breathe. Talking takes air. Relaxation takes oxygen. If you feel yourself beginning to get tense, take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Imagine the nervousness leaving your body as you exhale.

How do you quell public speaking jitters?

What do you do to calm public speaking nerves? Do you have a particular technique that you use? Tell us and help others out at the same time!

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