Public speaking can be terrifying. We’ve all been there, heart racing, palms sweating, and knees knocking. We have no sense of control over our bodies. Our lips and hands begin to shake. Our mouth becomes dry. And even worse, we clam up.
In spite of our fears, we push through because we understand the importance of developing public speaking skills. Whether we’re a consultant, elearning specialist, or any other professional who works with others, we need this critical skill.
Oral communication is important not only in business but in everyday life. Public speaking is one of the most important and frightening forms of communication. After all, some people fear public speaking more than they do death! Nonetheless, it’s necessary in order to spread information to one another. But, here’s the good news: it’s possible to manage your fear of public speaking. Moreover, we can even learn to feel confident and comfortable while presenting.
Calm Nerves Before a Public Speaking Event
Practice your presentation
To deliver a strong presentation or performance, it’s important to iron out the kinks before taking center stage. This is the time to fine tune and decide on things like pauses, pacing, and delivery emphasis. With more practice comes comfort. And, with comfort comes confidence. Practice your presentation a few times a day. It may be helpful to record yourself, take a public speaking course, or present in front of those you trust. Learn and practice to grow.
The last thing you want is a dry mouth or dry cough when presenting. The cure is simple – hydrate! On the day of a presentation awaken the senses with a cup of tea or warm water with lemon. Coffee may be your first choice. But, keep in mind that it’s dehydrating. While yummy, it dries out your vocal cords instead of moisturizing them. Dry vocal cords can tighten and lack range and stamina. So, be prepared to hydrate throughout the presentation. Bring your own bottle from home and fill it before you begin.
Not only is exercise a great way to begin your day, but it’s also a wonderful way to calm nerves. A 15-20 minute workout will help reduce stress for the rest of your day. Don’t wear yourself out, though. Workout enough to get the heart going. You’ll also release that serotonin (happiness vibe!) and get those endorphins flowing. Essentially, positive vibes will flood your brain and body and aid in your delivery of a fantastic presentation.
When presenting, you want to be confident. You don’t want to be worried about whether your dress or suit is too tight. Clothes should fit comfortably. Wear breathable material. Also, keep in mind that public speaking usually involves a good amount of standing. So, choosing the right shoes, clothing, material, and color matters.
Embrace the Fear!
Fear is a good! When we fear, we care. It brings out the good stuff and is a natural emotion for people who want to succeed. Turn the fear and nervous energy into positive energy. Public speaking is not an easy task. It requires a quiet mind, courage, and a certain bit of boldness.
If you’re looking to take your career to a new level, one that will challenge you to become effective at public speaking, consider UMBC’s ISD Graduate Program. UMBC offers certificate and master’s degree programs that provide a strong foundation for professionals to grow successfully.