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Fear of public speaking? 5 tips to calm down

16/07/2019 in Public Events

Mattie Drucker

Public speaking trainer at AhaSlides

AHH! So you’re giving a speech and you have a fear of public speaking (Glossophobia)! Don’t freak out. Almost everyone I know has this social anxiety. Here are 5 tips on how to calm yourself down before your presentation.

1. Map out your speech

If you are a visual person, draw a chart and have physical lines and markers to “map out” your topic. There is no perfect way to do this, but it helps you understand where you are going with your speech and how to navigate it.

2. Practice your speech in different locations, varying body positions, and at different times of the day

Being able to deliver your speech in these diverse ways makes you more flexible and prepared for the big day. The best thing you can do is be flexible. If you practice your speech always at the same time, the same way, with the same mindset you will start to associate your speech with these cues. Be able to deliver your speech in whatever form it comes.

Nigel practicing his speech to calm himself down!

3. Watch other presentations

If you can’t get to a live presentation, watch other presenters on YouTube. Watch how they give their speech, what technology they use, how their presentation is set up, and their CONFIDENCE. 

Then, record yourself. 

This might be cringey to watch back, especially if you have a great fear of public speaking, but it gives you a great idea of what you look like and how you can improve. Maybe you didn’t realize you say, “ummm,” “erh,” “ah,” a lot. Here is where you can catch yourself!

Barack Obama showing us how to get rid of our social anxiety.
*Obama mic drop*

4. General health

This might seem obvious and a helpful tip for anyone – but being in a good physical state makes you more prepared. Working out the day of your presentation will give you helpful endorphins and allow you to keep a positive mindset. Eat a good breakfast to keep your mind sharp. Lastly, avoid alcohol the night before because it makes you dehydrated. Drink lots of water and you’re good to go. Watch your fear of public speaking diminish quickly!

Hydrate or Die-drate

5. If given the opportunity – go to the space that you are presenting in

Get a good idea of how the environment functions. Take a seat in the back row and see what the audience sees. Talk to the people helping you with the technology, the people hosting, and especially to those attending the event. Making these personal connections will calm your nerves because you will get to know your audience and why they are excited to hear you speak. 

You will also form interpersonal relationships with employees of the venue – so there is more of an inclination to assist you in times of need (the presentation isn’t working, the mic is off, etc.). Ask them if you’re talking too loud or too quiet. Make time to practice with your visuals a few times and familiarize yourself with the technology provided. This will be your biggest asset to keeping calm.

Here is someone trying to fit in with the tech crowd. Lots of social anxiety here!
Friendship ladies and gentlemen (and everyone in between)

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