12 tips to overcome public speaking jitters
"The people are watching" this phrase is enough to make any person drown in sweat. You may be a great speaker, but the idea of speaking in front of a crowd will most likely make you anxious and nervous. But that shouldn't stop you from expressing your views.
No matter your position in life, sooner or later, you will encounter public speaking. But, whether it's personal life or professional, a bad foot at public speaking will hinder your success and growth.
While you may feel that your anxiety before public speaking is tough to overcome, it is easy to minimize it if not eliminate it, with few easy tips.
Here are 12 simple tips that can help you overcome public speaking jitters -
1. Prepare Extensively
Preparation is the first step in the process of mastering the art of public speaking. Therefore, you should organize all your resources and be prepared well in advance.
Also, it is always advisable to write your speech in your own words because that eliminates the stress of learning it. In addition, this makes you more comfortable with your presentation.
2. Practice, Practice & Practice
You might have heard this many times, but that's because it is the most critical aspect of public speaking. Practice makes you familiar with the content. Practice doesn't necessarily refer to mugging up the words. Instead, it is about being internalizing your content and perfect your style of delivering it.
3. Survey the room
Before you make your appearance on the final day, visit the event room and survey it. When you are familiar with the surroundings, the job is half done. Check if there's a podium? Get familiar with the pieces of equipment that you will be using. Do test runs. Preparation is the precursor to success.
4. Engage with the audience
Always keep some buffer time in hand that can be used to engage with the audience before the event. This extra time eases out the tension that builds when you directly address a room full of strangers.
5. Plant your Audience
This is where your friends, relatives, and colleagues come into the picture. Invite them over to the event and plant them at different places in the room where you are more likely to see, during the presentation. A familiar face will help you regain confidence in case of stutters or sudden anxiety build-up.
6. Relax Your Body
Just like your mind, your body needs to be prepared as well. Few minutes before you take over the stage, let your body relax. Bend your upper body forward, dangle your arms and let it loose. Practice some basic stretching as well. These exercises will put your body at ease and, therefore, will enhance your performance as well.
7. Act and Interact
This trick helps you shift the pressure from yourself that too in a witty manner. When you interact, not only does your work become easier, but it elevates the quality of your presentation as well. Once the audience becomes involved, the presentation becomes a conversation, and when does a conversation feel stressful, right?
8. Make your opening strong
Once you start, you are already halfway there. Therefore it is essential to work well on your opening. If your opening can grab the interest of the audience, then the remaining conversation becomes easier. Therefore, make sure that your first minute is educational, engaging, and expressive.
9. Know the restroom
Though it might sound funny or absurd, the restroom can be your savior in ways you don't recognize. Few minutes before the presentation, use the restroom as the space to be yourself because no one is watching. Allow yourself to take a breath, listen to something that helps you calm down, do the last practice, or anything that enables you to release the tension. This will help you to compose yourself and pull yourself together.
10. Work on your breathing
Having control over your breath is one of the many important aspects of public speaking. Since public speaking is all about using your voice as a tool to cast influence on people, it is essential to know that when to take a pause and allow yourself to breathe and when not.
11. Remember that audience is forgiving
One of our biggest fear in public speaking is what people will think if we make a mistake. But, once you overcome this fear of making mistakes, it'll be all fun and games. You should know that making mistakes is okay as long as you own them and rectify them. Everybody makes a mistake, and that is what makes them more human.
12. Note down the takeaways from every experience
When people say that life's biggest lessons are not taught in the classroom but in life itself, they mean it. No book or a blog on public speaking can teach you what you'll learn from a real-life experience. Whether good or bad, every experience leaves us with many lessons, and we should be wise enough to learn from them.