Combatting Nerves

BUILDING CONFIDENCE

Perhaps the biggest problem people face while speaking in front of a crowd is a lack of confidence. We get nervous, think we aren’t great speakers, this makes us more nervous, etc.

It’s completely normal to get stage fright, but it’s ruining our speeches! The most important contributors to confidence are our faith in our knowledge of the subject and our own speaking abilities.

For an elaboration on these methods, check out our blog post on relevance and ability.

Keep in mind that different strategies will work better for different people, so it’s important to learn what works best for you!

Before giving a speech, ask yourself, “How do I want to feel while giving this speech?”. Confident, yes, but give it more thought. Is this a serious speech or is it more lighthearted? Do you want your audience to feel excited or moved? All of these questions are meant to get you thinking about how you want yourself and your audience to feel during and after your speech. Keep this in mind.

 

It’s human nature to be nervous before getting up in front of a crowd. Anyone who claims they have never been is┬álikely exaggerating. This feeling of anxiety and how it is controlled can make or break any speech. Work to replace the feeling of anxiousness with another feeling. If you want your audience to feel excited, try to get yourself excited before a speech. If the speech is very lighthearted and almost comedic, mimic that feeling.

As for how to enact these emotions, tactics are as unique as styles of speaking. Trial and error are necessary for discovering what works best for you. Popular exercises for releasing that feeling of anxiousness before a speech include exercising or reading a book. As for creating a feeling of excitement or lightheartedness, my personal recommendation is to listen to music.

Listening to music evokes a response from everyone, and the many types of genres and styles also replicate a variety of responses. Again, trial and error are key. If a certain playlist gets you excited and does away with that feeling of nervousness, that’s the key! Work to find that feeling you want and that exercise that works for you!

Exercise: Own the Room

It’s no secret: we all feel more comfortable in a place we’ve been before and less comfortable in an environment that feels new and unfamiliar to us. On the day of a speech, it’s important to give yourself as few unknowns as possible. If possible, always go to the space you will be giving a speech before you actually give it.

Whether it’s a stage or the front of a classroom, don’t be afraid to just walk around, look out at your (pretend) audience, and let yourself feel comfortable in the space.When it come’s time to give a speech you’ll get a feeling of, “I’ve done this before” and everything will feel much more familiar.