Successfully communicating a message depends on our ability to be heard; however, it’s difficult to deliver a clear message when you forget what you want to say. Speaking in front of others is one of the most common fears. Follow these simple preparation steps to overcome your speech anxiety and regain your confidence.
Practice Over and Over Again
The single most effective way to overcome speech anxiety is to practice. Instead of flipping through your slides and mentally thinking through what you want to say, read your notes out loud. Doing so will ensure that you don’t forget any key points. It’s also crucial to practice transitions since they’re easy to forget. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll feel when you step in front of your audience.
Visualize the Delivery
Visualization is a powerful tool that many great entrepreneurs, artists and performers use. Albert Einstein, who said that “imagination is more important than knowledge,” always visualized his ideas. When practicing your presentation, concentrate on all the positives and visualize, in detail, what you will say and how you will say it – from start to finish. Visualizing yourself successfully delivering your presentation will boost your confidence and quiet your fear.
Take Deep Breaths
Breathing is one of the easiest, most natural things to do, yet people always forget to do it. When you’re nervous, you tend to breathe rapidly and shallowly, which causes you to stutter, speak too quietly, or too quickly. Right before you take the stage, give yourself a few minutes to concentrate and take a few slow, deep breaths. Remember to pause between phrases – it keeps your energy high and allows your audience to process your points.
Strike a Power Pose
Amy Cuddy, a professor at Harvard Business School, discovered that striking a victory pose – arms raised overhead, feet slightly apart – raises testosterone levels and lowers cortisol, the “stress hormone.” You can take advantage of this discovery and give yourself a much-needed boost before your presentation. Find a private spot where you can hold your power pose for two minutes, which Cuddy says is all you need to get the full benefit of the technique.
Vitiello Communications Group (VTLO) provides speech writing and coaching services to leaders in a variety of industries. Email us at email@example.com to schedule a free, 15-minute phone consultation to see how VTLO can help you overcome your speech anxiety.