If you need to give a speech soon, you will face many symptoms of anxiety and stress. This is, even more, the case, if you need to present in front of your boss for example, or it is some other major event going on. This is normal and even the most expert public speakers admit that there is some level of nervousness before a speech.
And the goal should always be not to fight the adrenaline surge, but to instead leverage it. So the next time you step out to speak in front of others, you will do well to utilise some strategies to prepare just before the speech. Here are a few working tips in that regard:
- Do a positive pep talk to yourself – it is always important to claim some success before you begin your presentation. This is a trick that many experts in sports psychology employ and it works well. Positive self-talk before any performance boosts confidence and leads to a higher win rate. So, in the minutes leading to your speech, make sure to give yourself a few compliments and self-affirmations.
- Power posing – if you get some alone time, make sure to also practice power posing. Assume an expansive and open stance in front of a mirror. This will give your mind a powerful confidence boost, which you can then use to enhance your performance minutes before it begins.
- Light exercise – a light stretch is a great way to relax your body if you feel any tension in it. Knee-bends or a brisk walk also work to supply your brain with oxygen and make you less of a stress knot.
- Take a few very deep breaths – anxiety has a way of tightening your muscles and making it difficult to breathe. That is why you can take some time to take a few deep breaths. Try to maximise the amount of oxygen flowing into your body and take the breaths with your diaphragm. This is a natural relaxation process, which can immediately calm you down and ease your nerves.
- Forget about pretending you are not nervous – even experts in public speaking are nervous. It is what they do with nervousness that counts. Instead of trying to control this state, they embrace it and turn it into an eagerness to perform. If you try to suppress your anxiety, you will only make it stronger.
- Focus on giving to others – try to remember the last time you gave a birthday present to someone. Were you nervous? Most likely not. Perhaps you felt a pinch of anticipation or excitement but never felt nervous about it. You can use this in your public speeches as well. Think of your performance as a gift to your audience, like a package of useful information that you willingly give to them. This is a mental attitude that empowers you and makes you perform better.
- Always practice the first minute of your speech in your head – it doesn’t matter how you plan on opening your speech – a personal story, an interesting quote, or a curious statistic – always make sure to memorise these first sentences in your head. When you are 100% how you will begin, you will feel much more confident and transition from feeling nervous into feeling more comfortable once you go past these initial minutes of the speech. Besides, you will create a very positive first impression this way.
Remember to utilise these simple but effective strategies the next time you approach public speaking. You will be surprised by how powerful they are.
© Presence Training