And it’s not just company presentations or wedding reception speeches that make many people cringe.
Some find any public performance nerve-racking—from mingling at dinner parties to asking questions in company meetings. If you’re
in this club, try these strategies to combat your fear.
First, realize you may not actually be scared about speaking in public. Your anxiety might be about being vulnerable or showing weakness. Start by accepting that you will make mistakes speaking in public. Everyone does. You may not be in the audience, but you are just like them: imperfect.
You do have some control, though. There are many things you can do to improve
your speaking and relieve anxiety.
Start with proper preparation. Know your content and how you want to present it. Some bring word-for-word notes with them. Some memorize and recite from memory. Others opt for a hybrid
Know what works for you. Then prepare yourself physically. Avoid consuming sugar, alcohol, or caffeine before you speak. Get plenty of sleep. Exercise regularly. A healthy mind and body are key.
Next, think strategically, not catastrophically. Avoid worrying or imagining worst-case scenarios. You’re not going to show up at the wrong place. Your clothes are not inside out.
Most important, remember it’s not about you. It’s about your audience, the message you’re giving them, and what they can do with it. Interact with them. Make them laugh. Ask them questions. Once you’re all involved, you’ll realize how similar you are.