How To Deal With Speech Anxiety When Public Speaking

Do you ever get speech anxiety when public speaking?

This year I did my first speaking engagement at the MN Blogger’s Conference in Minneapolis Minnesota. I was so nervous and when I get nervous and see a ton of eyes on me, it’s really easy to start stuttering and randomly freaking out inside your mind.

And on another similar note, you know how there are all these live video streaming options on social media now? Last month, I held a book club for my book “Creating A Fit Life” on Facebook Live and boy did I learn a lot. But whenever I saw that people were viewing the Facebook Live, I got that same feeling I got when I was standing on a stage giving a presentation.

It’s a scary feeling not knowing how to handle public speaking. How do you deal with that?

I spoke at the MN Bloggers Conference in Minneapolis.

6 Things You Can Do To Get Better At Public Speaking

1. Practice.

This one is important and I’m not just saying practice before your event. That’s a given. But you should practice public speaking on a more regular basis.

You can do this by getting on Facebook Live or Instagram Live more often. You can read a chapter of a book you wrote, or go over the main points to your most recent blog post.

2. Do it consistently.

Challenge yourself and set up a month of speaking. This could be teaching a class once a week at your local library on writing (or whatever you want to talk about.) Or getting on the live stories app of your choice a couple times a week.

3. Eye Contact. 

In real life, and on social media, people can tell when you are nervous. Especially if you are one of those people who divert their eyes away. I can say that, because that’s something I do sometimes.

Something that could help if you are on social media is to put little sticky googly eyes on either side of the camera. It will remind you to look at the camera a.ka. your audience.

This is also the same in real life. Don’t just read off of your index cards or the power point. Look up and out to your audience.

4. Smile.

You would think this was a given, but this is something that can be forgotten in moments of intense speech anxiety. Take a moment to breathe and smile.

5. Be like honey badger and just don’t care.

There are some moments when public speaking where some people might get up to leave. You are looking across the conference room and you see them get up and walk out. This also happens on social media stories, when people leave.

But this is actually a good thing. You aren’t going to be able to please everyone. And that’s alright.

So if this happens while you are speaking, just smile and be honey badger. Don’t be bothered by it.

6. Get rid of your comfort words.

Do you know what your comfort words are?

Comfort words are the words you go to when you are nervous. My comfort words are: yeah, so, & and.

When I was doing my book club on Facebook Live, I wrote my comfort words on a sticky note to remind myself not to say these words.

When you realize you say certain words a lot, you’ll have an easier time quitting using them. You might even find more words that you use too often.

Something that might help is: whenever you find yourself wanting to say one of these words is to take a breath and just pause. Sometimes we are afraid of silence. But having some breaks in your speech is okay. Let people have time to comprehend what you are speaking about, and this will also help the note takers out there.

What helps you cut back on speech anxiety?

About Devin Berglund

Writer. Dreamer. Wanderer. Enjoyer of Life. She loves crafting stories that change lives. Her first book "The Mason of Hearts" was recently finished. It's the first in a Fantasy Adventure trilogy. She is also working toward agent representation.

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