10 Easy Ways To Beat Your Public Speaking Anxiety

29 March 2017, 14:45 | Updated: 19 November 2018, 16:12

Mean girls public speaking asset
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

How to ace your next class presentation without breaking a sweat.

Getting up in front of your class or colleagues to deliver a presentation can be stressful. You may know them well. but that doesn't always help the butterflies that can inhabit your stomach. If you've always had a thing about public speaking, here are a few ways to minimize your nerves and nail your next presentation. 

1) First of all, stop thinking about how nervous you are.

You start thinking about your nerves, which makes you more nervous. That causes you to think some more about your nerves and suddenly you're doing the dramatic thing of saying "I'm gonna throw up", "I can't breathe". Save yourself the mental stress. 

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2) Act like you're giving a TED talk.

Act like a "thought leader". Imagine that you're a complete expert on the topic and that no one could ever surpass your vast knowledge. 

3) Put yourself in your audience's shoes.

Just remember that no one came to laugh at you and, in fact, they probably want you to do well. It's not that deep and your audience are actually there to gain information, not judge you.

4) DON'T drink a cup of coffee right beforehand. DO chew some gum.

Coffee can dry out your mouth and give you that weird croaky feeling, especially if you're nervous. Gum encourages saliva production, so that's one less thing to worry about.   


5) Breathe and visualize before you have to get up there.

Close your eyes and count down from 100 or try focusing on specific shapes and colours. This will prevent you from allowing your mind to wander to a negative space. It can also help regulate your breathing. 

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6) Practice your presentation as if you're telling a story to a friend.

This is also good for learning new study material. Don't focus on long rigid paragraphs of text that you have to read or memorize. Practice calmly explaining something the way you would explain it to a pal. You'll find that, when it's showtime, the words flow naturally, and your presentation has a natural beat to it. 

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7) Do a calm-making ritual.

Create a playlist to listen to beforehand. Take a trip to the bathroom for a little pep talk. Shadowbox in the hallway. Do something to convince yourself that you've got this. 


8) Focus on a friend.

It's likely that you've got at least one pal in the room. If your nerves are really getting to you, turn to them and deliver your entire presentation as if they're the only person in the room.


9) Keep it light.

There is a tendency to think that public speaking is a super serious, straight laced occasion. If you're someone who regularly experiences nerves when giving a presentation try adding an amusing slide or a funny anecdote that fits in with your topic of choice. 


10) You ain't gotta go to work, but you gotta put in work.

Public speaking is hard. There is the fear that people will judge, you'll trip over your words, or drench the podium in flop sweat. If public speaking is one of your huge fears, you'll need to go the extra mile in brainstorming, prep, and practice. It's not much of a "hack" but putting in that extra effort will build your confidence and help you shake off the nerves. 

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