Do you want to learn how to overcome nerves when public speaking? Then you are in the right place. As a leader or business owner, you would be required to address people publicly from time to time. Sadly, a lot of people often experience extreme nervousness whenever they are meant to address a group of people. If you fall under this category, then you have to know that it is something that can be worked on.
At the end of this article, you’d be armed with enough tips to help you convert your nervousness to confidence when public speaking.
So, ensure you stick with us to the end…
Why Do You Feel Nervous When Public Speaking – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
A lot of people get extremely nervous when public speaking and there are so many reasons why this happens.
Knowing why your nerves are all over the place when public speaking will help you as you work towards overcoming it.
This is why some of the common reasons people feel nervous when public speaking will now be discussed.
You Don’t Want to Appear Nervous
A lot of people get nervous when addressing a group of people because they do not want to look nervous.
They become so scared of looking nervous that they get themselves so worked up and start exhibiting signs of what they were trying to avoid.
If you spend all your time during your speech trying to not look nervous, then you might start looking nervous.
You Feel Others Will Judge You – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
Speaking to a group puts you under their scrutiny.
Therefore, it is normal to feel like those people are there to just judge and criticize every word you say.
However, this isn’t the case most times.
The audience isn’t there to judge but listen and learn from what you have to say.
Thinking that they are there to judge you might make you feel under pressure.
When this happens, you might get so worked up and nervous because of the pressure you feel.
Past Failures – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
If you’ve ever failed at public speaking before, then chances are you would get nervous the next time you have to address a group.
You might find yourself being so self-conscious because you do not want to relive your experience.
But thinking this way will only make you feel more nervous.
You might feel comfortable speaking to a small group of people.
However, once the audience is larger than what you are used to it becomes a battle of nerves.
This is most likely because you feel self-conscious about addressing more people.
You might start doubting yourself or feeling like you have to go overboard to please these people.
Sadly, this will only make you feel more nervous.
You Did Not Prepare Well – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
If you fail to properly prepare for your speech, then chances are you will botch it.
Preparing for your speech doesn’t stop at knowing your topic and everything you need to speak on.
It also involves knowing the audience and what they expect from your speech.
When you are unprepared, you would be worried about making a mistake.
This in turn will make you feel nervous.
Self-doubt – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
Your nerves can get the better of you when public speaking if you do not believe in your abilities.
If you constantly doubt yourself, you’d feel insufficient to stand in front of others.
You Compare Yourself to Other Speakers
Having someone you look up to is great.
Perhaps, you know and admire a particular public speaker.
There’s nothing wrong with this.
But once you compare yourself to that person, you’d be setting yourself up for failure.
You most likely will pressurize yourself to the point where you feel dissatisfied when you do not act or speak like this person.
Comparing yourself with someone else will only make you more nervous than you should be when giving a speech.
Tips on How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
Every business owner and leader should be able to comfortably address a group and give a speech without feeling nervous.
Therefore, some tips that will help you overcome nerves when public speaking will be discussed below.
In the section above, some of the common reasons why people tend to get nervous when public speaking were listed.
You most likely found one or two reasons that are peculiar to you.
So, as you go through the tips below, take note of those that address your particular experience.
1. Ensure You Know the Topic You Are Going to Speak On – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
Before you address people, you need to first get prepared.
One of the many things you need to do in preparation for your speech is to fully understand the topic you will be speaking on.
Take your time to read and understand the subject matter.
When you know what you are talking about, your confidence level will be high.
The chances of your nerves getting the better of you would be substantially reduced when you fully understand your topic.
When questions start coming in, you might not even need your notes to answer them.
This will prevent the nervousness that often accompanies the awkward silence after a speaker doesn’t know what to say to a question.
2. Make Sure You are Organized
You have to be organized if you want to overcome your nerves when speaking publicly.
Before the D-day arrives, make sure that you have made a thorough plan.
Your plan should cover all areas of the presentation.
Depending on how long you have to speak, you can come up with visual aids that will keep you on track as you speak.
If you won’t be speaking for long, you might not need visual aids.
However, make notes as you plan toward the speech.
These notes will help you throughout the presentation.
When you are organized, you will feel more at ease and everything will go smoothly.
3. See Yourself Succeeding – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
Remember, self-doubt is one of the reasons people feel nervous when public speaking.
Well, if this reason is something you relate to, then you need to take this tip seriously.
Before you go on the stage or start the zoom call, make sure you see yourself succeeding.
Give yourself a PEP talk and boost your confidence as best as you can.
Go through every part of your speech and make sure you have everything to succeed.
4. Get Enough Practice – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
When getting ready, you need to get as much practice as you can.
Let your friend or family member sit as your audience and listen to your speech.
Afterward, let them tell you what they feel about your presentation.
Ask them what they feel about your eye contact, body language, and whether you projected your voice loud enough.
You can watch yourself present by videoing yourself or watching yourself with your mirror.
Figure out what you aren’t doing properly and try to fix it before the main day arrives.
If you’d be speaking to your audience via video conference, then you can try recording your presentation on the conference platform.
This way, you can assess your presentation; check how you sound and look.
Remember that there’s nothing like too much practice.
Make sure you practice as much as you can until you are confident in your abilities.
5. Turn Nervousness into Excitement
When you finally get on stage or the video conference call, you may start feeling nervous even though you are prepared.
Your palms may get sweaty, your chest might get so tight like it’s about to explode.
You might even feel lightheaded like you can’t breathe properly, and your heart may be threatening to burst out of your chest.
All these are signs of nervousness; however, these are also signs people feel when they get extremely excited.
So, when you start to feel nervous like this, you can trick your mind into believing that you are excited and not nervous.
Rather than going into a panic mood, convert the nervousness into excitement.
Excitement can give you a surge of energy that will make your presentation more interesting than it otherwise would have been.
Trust us, you can turn that “Panic!” feeling into “Oh my God! This is Great!” once you put your mind to it.
6. Do Not Be Scared of Silence – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
When your mind becomes blank, your instincts might be to go into panic mode.
You might start rushing through your thoughts trying to find something to say.
However, this would only spell more trouble as your mind can go into overdrive and the rest of the presentation can be ruined.
So, do not be scared of silence.
Remind yourself that it is okay to forget your next point.
This way, when your mind goes blank, you can stay calm while figuring out what you should say next.
The silence can be deafening to you, you might even feel like an eternity has gone by.
But this isn’t true.
At most, only some seconds might go by before you find your next point and carry on with your presentation as if nothing happened.
7. Do Not Forget to Breathe
During your presentation, do not forget to breathe properly.
Be deliberate with your breathing; make sure you breathe deeply and exhale well.
This will help calm you down and keep your thoughts clear.
It might help to take some breathing exercises before the presentation.
Alternatively, if you have a good imagination, then you can use it to your advantage.
Imagine you have a big golden ball in your belly or chest.
Imagine that the ball gathers golden energy with each breath you take.
And then emits warmth throughout your body whenever you exhale.
This should help you stay calm and collected when you are getting nervous.
8. Do Not Focus on What the Audience Are Thinking – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
Remind yourself that the audience is there to listen and learn from you and not to judge you.
They are not there to pick at and criticize everything you do and say.
They also want the presentation to go smoothly so that they can get something out of it.
You might make a mistake when all you think of is what your audience is thinking.
So, rather than thinking of whether your audience is enjoying your presentation or not, focus on what you have to say.
Focus on the speech and all you have practiced rather than focusing on the thoughts of the audience.
9. Do Not Think Negatively
Self-doubt is one of the most common reasons people get nervous when public speaking.
When you keep having self-destructive thoughts, you will start believing them soon enough.
So, before you start your speech, make sure that you get rid of all the negative self-disbelieving thoughts that are plaguing your mind.
Work on your confidence.
Reassure yourself about your abilities.
Remind yourself that you’ve spent a lot of time preparing to make the presentation and you won’t allow negative thoughts to put all your time to waste.
When negative thoughts come to mind, do not make them relevant.
Shut off them out before they even have the chance to instill fear and make you a ball of nerves.
10. Ground Yourself – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
Put your imagination to use again and see your feet as a root, planted on the floor.
Imagine that your roots are tapping energy from the floor and supporting you throughout your presentation.
This way, you would feel empowered and anchored.
Grounding yourself will make you feel more confident and reduce the chances of you getting nervous.
11. Make Use of Your Body
You should be able to relax your body to make yourself feel more confident and comfortable.
Make sure you move your arms and gesticulate as you speak.
Doing this will let your brain know that you feel confident and comfortable.
When your brain gets this message, your vocals and imagination will be free to back up your confidence and comfort.
Your audience will also enjoy the presentation better because your gesticulations will bring your speech to life.
12. Speak Slowly – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
When you get nervous when public speaking, you most likely will start rushing your speech.
You might start speaking faster and your audience may have a hard time following.
So, train yourself to speak slowly.
When you speak slowly, you would give yourself the chance to relax and stay calm during your speech.
Your audience will also understand you better when you do this.
13. Drink Water – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
If it feels like your nerves are taking over, then take a break and drink some water.
Drinking water is a sure way to increase your energy level.
It will also give you some seconds to pause and collect your thoughts.
14. Remember the 3 Audience Truths
There are three truths every speaker needs to know about the audience.
These truths apply to all types of audiences.
Therefore, regardless of the type of audience you are addressing, know that they:
- Believe the speaker is the expert all through the duration of the presentation
- Do not often know when the speaker makes a mistake
- They are on the side of the speaker and want the presentation to go seamlessly so they can have a good experience as well.
15. Do Not Forget to Smile – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
Smiling might seem like a normal and simple thing.
However, a smile can go a long way in soothing your nerves and making you less nervous.
When you smile, your body releases endorphins.
This helps to increase your confidence.
Apart from this, when you have a smiling friendly face, your audience becomes open to listening to what you have to say.
So, always remember to smile when public speaking.
What to Do After Public Speaking – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
As a business owner or leader, you most likely will have to do a lot of public speaking.
This is why you have to start preparing yourself for the next immediately after you finish with one.
It doesn’t matter whether the presentation went well or not.
You have to assess your presentation and see what you need to change or eliminate the next time.
Doing this will make sure your nerves are kept at bay during subsequent presentations.
The following are some things you should do after public speaking:
Celebrate Your Presentation
Addressing a group of people is not a small feat.
Therefore, if you were able to do it, you should be proud of yourself.
Give yourself the accolades you deserve.
Get Feedback – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
You should always strive to do better regardless of how successful you were.
One way to work on yourself is to get feedback.
Meet some members of your audience and ask them to tell you what they liked and disliked about the presentation.
This way you’d know your mistakes and figure out how to not repeat them.
You would also learn your strengths and figure out how to improve them.
Do Not Be Harsh on Yourself – How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
Finally, do not be harsh on yourself.
Even though the presentation didn’t go the way you wanted it to, know that you gave it your best.
Instead of beating up on yourself, think of ways to make yourself better.
Conclusion on How to Overcome Nerves When Public Speaking
There are several reasons why people often feel nervous when they have to address a group of people.
And the first step towards overcoming nerves when public speaking is to figure out why it happens to you.
When you know why it happens, you can now apply the tips that fit your experience.
However, keep in mind that overcoming this issue can be quite a challenge and might take a while.
So, remember to trust the process.