7 steps you can take to reduce your speech anxiety?
Most people feel some level of nervousness and suffer from speech anxiety symptoms when asked to do a presentation (Glossophobia). A small amount of stress is positive and useful if directed effectively to generate energy and enthusiasm.
It becomes a problem when the nervousness, fear and anxiety is so great that it reduces your impact and perceived professionalism, and even worse, leads you to avoid making presentations that you need to do to gain business or progress your career.
These seven simple tips will help you reduce nerves and speech anxiety when presenting.
- Manage your state so you learn how to feel at ease in front of an audience. There are a range of simple techniques we use with clients, these include the presenter state, where you manage your physiology and focus. As part of this, make sure that you stand tall, and breathe slowly and deeply. Not only will you feel less anxious but you will look more confident.
- Plan your presentation and know your material. Think about the presentation structure, take the time to plan it so you are confident it meets the needs of the audience. Our SAS structure ensures that the audience remains the focus of every presentation. When this is right, practice until you know the structure and the flow, but not so it reads as a script. Allowing yourself to trust in the structure will reduce anxiety about ‘forgetting your words’ and make your presentation more natural.
- Know the environment. Arrive in plenty of time to check out the room. If practical, move things around if it doesn’t feel right. It is important you feel comfortable, as do your audience. Is the room the right temperature? Are there any external noises that will be distracting for you and the audience?
- Test that the technology is working. If you are using a microphone check it is set up correctly and you know how to use it. How often have you seen people spend the first minutes of a presentation trying to get everything working properly?! How does this affect your attention level and your first impressions of the speaker?
- Remember it is all about the audience so make sure you know who they are and what they want to get from your presentation. You might chat informally with them as they arrive – that way they won’t seem as intimidating when you are standing in front of them! It might also give ideas for last minute fine tuning to your presentation to make it even more relevant.
- Visualise yourself speaking. Create a picture of yourself presenting, concentrate on this until you have created a clear focused picture of how you want to look and sound, and how you want the audience to receive your presentation. Notice how confident you are, how interested the audience is, the sounds you hear, the colours in the room etc. Remember this picture when you are getting ready to present.
- Take opportunities to present. The more you do and the more experience you get (if you follow our body language tips for presenting and ‘Tame your public speaking monkeys’!) the more relaxed and confident you will become.
Our ‘Taming & Training your public speaking monkeys’ programme addresses these elements and more. You begin to change your negative mindset and we then develop the skillset, enabling you to become a calm and confident presenter.
First we work with you to Tame the monkeys (identify and address your fears) and next we Train your monkeys teaching you simple yet powerful techniques and approaches that work with any presentation any time.
If you would like to learn more about how to tame your public speaking monkeys then get in touch with me to find out more about our award winning presentation skills training.