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Manage your public speaking anxiety

by Harshini Haridass
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Glossophobia, commonly known as public speaking anxiety, is one of the most common social fears found in many individuals. Some people might feel nervous before giving a speech or presentation. Some might experience fear even for standing up and talking in a classroom. Public Speaking anxiety can be dealt with in many ways rather seeking a doctor’s help.

Public speaking anxiety

Public Speaking Anxiety

Public Speaking Anxiety occurs before in the context of speaking in public. Living with public speaking anxiety brings in a lot of stress to the body and mind. It may push you to worry weeks or months in advance of a speech or presentation.

Physical Symptoms of anxiety during a speech or before a speech such as the following :

  • Blushing
  • A pounding Heart
  • Dizziness
  • Upset Stomach
  • Rigorous Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Trembling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Shivering Voice
  • Stammering
  • Dry throat

These are the symptoms that are a result of the fight or flight response. It is a physiological reaction that occurs when a person is in the presence of something terrifying. Even thought there is no physical threat, you might feel as though you have lost the control of our body. This makes it hard to do well during public speaking and may cause to avoid or skip instances which you may have to speak in public.

Click here to know more about fight or flight response.

Tips on Preparing for a Speech

There are a plenty of strategies that you can use to cope with speech anxiety and become a better person in public speaking. Public speaking is like any activity—better preparation equals better performance. When you are better prepared, it will boost your confidence and make it easier to concentrate on delivering your message.

Develop a routine

Put together a routine for managing anxiety on the day of a speech or presentation. This routine should help to put you in the proper frame of mind and allow you to maintain a relaxed state. For instance, practicing meditation on the morning of a speech.

Imagine yourself succeeding

Human brain can’t tell the difference between an imagined activity and a real one? That is why successful athletes use visualization to improve athletic performance. As you practice your speech (10, 20, or even 30 times!), imagine yourself wowing the audience with your amazing public speaking skills.


Practice, practice, practice!

Even people who are comfortable speaking in public rehearse their speeches many times to get them right. Practicing your speech 10, 20, or even 30 times will give you confidence in your ability to deliver. If your talk has a time limit, time yourself during practice runs and adjust your content as needed to fit within the time that you have. Lots of practice will help boost your confidence.

“Practice makes a man perfect”


Show your audience that you are open-minded and relaxed. Say, “Thanks for that important question” or ” I really appreciate that comment” or “That is a wonderful question”. If you do not know how to answer the question thrown at you, say you will look into it. Before the speech or presentation, try to figure out the possible questions and critics that might arise and prepare responses ahead of time.

Get familiar with the venue

Try to visiting the conference room, classroom, auditorium, or banquet hall where you will be presenting before you give your speech. If possible, try practicing at least once in the environment that you will eventually be speaking in. Being familiar with the venue and knowing where needed audio-visual components are ahead of time will mean one less thing to worry about at the time of your speech.

Choose a topic that is comfortable to you

If you are able to chose the topic, choose a topic that you are excited about. If you are not able to choose the topic for the talk, try using an approach to the topic that you find interesting. For instance you could tell a personal story from your life that relates to the topic, as a way to introduce your speech. This will convey that you are engaged in your topic and motivated to research and prepare. When you present, others will feel your enthusiasm and be interested in what you have to say.

Pieces together

Set goals: Make it a personal goal to become an excellent public speaker. With lots of practice, you can become good at speaking in public.

Accept anxiety: Even professional speakers experience a bit of nervous excitement before a speech. Surprisingly, most believe that a little anxiety actually makes you a better speaker. Learn to accept that you will always be a little anxious about giving a speech, but that it is normal and common to feel this way.

Put things into perspective: If you find that public speaking isn’t one of your strengths, remember that it is only one aspect of your life. We all have strengths in different areas. Instead, make it a goal simply to be more comfortable in front of an audience, so that public speaking anxiety doesn’t prevent you from achieving other goals in life. Way to go !

Make some wonders !

Related : 20 Public Speaking Tips to make you a better speaker

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