For some of our TALK students, the idea of speaking in public, and that means even in front of classmates, creates huge anxiety. This fear of speaking, known as presentation anxiety, can affect someone’s entire career and even their lives. It is really important that, at this stage of your life as a college student, you try to tackle and overcome speech anxiety. If you learn to deliver and well-rounded speech to you classmates, you will also become accustomed to the process and at ease in whatever public speaking situation you may find yourself later in life. Here are some tips that will help you deal with speech or presentation anxiety.
Tip 1. Preparation. Planning and being prepared is one of the most important things to do before speaking in public. By planning, preparing, and practicing, students can build their confidence as they become familiar with what they want to say. The pyramid approach is a method that enables a student to build up their public speaking confidence by first having students work and deliver speeches individually, then in pairs, and then in a small group. By the end of this, they are pretty well practiced in speaking in front of people.
- Tip 2. Breathe. When speaking in public, breathing a few deep breaths can help to keep your heart rate slower, and keep you in a more relaxed state. Before you step out on stage take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, tighten your fists, stomach muscles and toes while counting back from ten. Exhale through the mouth and release all your tension. This can be repeated multiple times to help keep you calm.
- Tip 3. Know your Words. Know the first few sentences or paragraph like the back of your hand. This can help you to feel confident straight away and will help you to follow through and deliver you entire speech in an easy and effective way.
- Tip 4. Think Positive. When speaking in public, think positive about yourself and what you are delivering in your message. Encourage yourself to be confident and fluent at all times as this will help you gain control over your speech.
- Tip 5. Warm Up. As you prepare for your speech practice some warm up exercises. Drink some water if you have a dry mouth and exercise your mouth muscles to get it ready for your speech. Make some sounds as you exercise your mouth to help you retain a strong and confident voice.
- Tip 6. Speak After Inhaling. Nervousness and anxiety can be exacerbated by shortness of breath. The best way to start your speech is by speaking after you inhale as this will give you enough air to continue on.
- Tip 7. Experience. Gradually introducing yourself to new public speaking opportunities will help to build your confidence over time. Practice your speech in a park or somewhere public so you get a feel for it. As you become used to the aspect of public speaking you can then confidently approach classroom speeches more effectively.