6 tips on how to combat your nervousness when public speaking

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1. Understand that it’s completely normal you’re nervous.

There are only two types of speakers in the world.

1. The nervous and
2. the liars.

– Mark Twain

The reason why you get excited and nervous when speaking is because you care about what you are going to say. You are anxious about making a fool out of yourself.

This feeling won’t ever go away, because it means that you care about the message which you try to to get out.

The only thing to do is to convert this energy into excitement in your speech.

In almost all cases your nervousness isn’t as visible as you think.

2. Practise speaking before other people

It’s important to practise a lot just speaking before people. For me it helped to join a toastmaster or other rhetoric club and just go to every meeting and try to speak.

Find a ToasTmaster Club near you.

At toastmaster it’s possible to do impromptu speeches at almost every meeting. This helps combat some of your initial nervousness. Although as I said it will never go away completely.

3. Use a webcam to prepare your talk

To prepare a speech I often first write down the points I’d like to talk about to get a general overview. Then I record myself with my webcam and just start talking about the topic.

While recording you don’t need to think about how to connect the pieces. It’s important to just to get into a flow and talk about your topic.

It doesn’t matter if you stop for a moment. Take a little break, think about what your going to say next and continue speaking after you have a new thought.

At the end you have a video with you talking about the topic. Watch the video and pick out the things that you liked and now try to create a loose structure.

You can write down certain pieces in their original form if you liked them or just use keywords.

4. Be an expert on your topic

The most important thing is to know your topic and to be the expert on it.

The only thing you can improve here is to learn as much as possible about the topic you present. Don’t only learn the facts your talking about. Dive into your topic so you could answer any question related to your topic.

Because the nervousness will start to lessen as soon as you get into the flow. When you realize you could answer any question on your topic.

5. Practise your speech

The last thing is to practise your speech as often as possible. With friends, family or even with a webcam. By recording your speech you can then re-watch it and improve the things that went wrong.

On tip I got from from my fellow toastmaster was to only know the introduction and ending of the speech by heart. So you have a solid start and ending to your speech.

You should structure the rest of the content only with keywords. If you like or need certain parts in your speech to stay the same every time, you are free to keep them the same.

6. Prepare for the real world

The code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.
– Barbossa

Keep in mind that these are more or less guidelines than actual rules. Many successful speaker around the world wouldn’t be successful in a Toastmaster contest.

So remember that only practicing in a club won’t make you a great speaker. But it helps to combat nervousness. Also it gets you valuable insight on how to structure and give your speech. And most important the people are some of the most friendly and welcoming people I’ve ever meet.

But in the end you have to get out there and give your speech in the real world.

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