If you’re nervous about public speaking, you’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 73% of the US population has this same fear, also called Glossophobia. But if your job requires you to get up on stage and speak to an audience, we’ve got some tips to help you lose those fears.
1. Make Sure to Breathe
When you’re anxious, your breathing can become rapid and shallow. This increases your heart rate and releases stress hormones, which shut down the creative part of your brain. Take a few deep breaths before you begin and pause when you are speaking. Both have a calming effect.
2. Be Friends With Your Audience
You can do this by making eye contact, smiling, and using your body language to engage in an inviting and friendly way. Talk to them, not at them. Remember that they would likely be nervous, too.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
While you might think winging it would seem more natural, it can also make you more anxious. You can still speak from your heart, but practicing aloud helps you hear how your delivery sounds, lets you know if you are rushing, and gives you a feel for the speech. And keep the practice as close to the real thing as possible.
Other Ways to Calm Those Fears
There are a few different ways to help, as well. These are:
• Exercise beforehand
• Get yourself in the right frame of mind
• Memorize the beginning and end
• Refer to your notes
• Don’t stress over – and be sure to laugh at – your mistakes
• Focus on the positive
• Take your time
• Embrace body language
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