Maybe you have had months to practice. Maybe you found out a minute ago. Either way, many people experience getting nervous as they are about to deliver a speech in public. Here are some easy ways you can prepare yourself, and maybe shake the speech anxiety.
1. Go sprinting
Get your heart rate all the way up a few hours before you are about to deliver your speech. Why? It can stabilize your physical reaction to becoming nervous, help you think clearer, and assist you in gaining control over the heat (sweat) some people struggle with when they get really nervous.
2. Flex…. and relax.
If we become nervous during a speech we sometimes end up flexing muscles, which can cause us to look unnatural, speak funny, and act awkward. Some people find it hard to pronounce words, because their jaw get tense. A way to help prevent this is to practice flex and release of the muscle groups that tend to stiffen. This teaches you control of the area and can help you gain control when your reflexes tell you to flex (…of course this works best if you know ahead of time that you are going to give the speech.)
3. Visual imagery
Most sports stars do this before performing. Especially dancers and figure skaters. Before performing they find a quiet spot and go through their rehearsed moves in their head. It could be a routine, a throw, or a kick. The same way, you should visualize your introduction, your main points and your conclusion, including gestures; how you would want it to look from the audience perspective.
4. Dress comfortably
Though the cocktail dress look amazing on you, or the dress shoes have been recently polished, you should consider if what you wear during your speech could become a distraction/problem for you. There could be spotlights making the stage 120 degrees, stairs, wires, etc, that high heals, skirts or too much clothes could make it uncomfortable for you to give your speech wearing. Underdressed is rarely better than overdressed, but consider your audience when you choose your outfit.
5. Pray for your audience
Often we pray for ourselves as we try to calm the nerves, but praying for our audience can give us insight into the emotions or concerns of the people in the audience. Praying for people often leads to loving people and loving our audience can make it much easier when we have to give a speech because love humanizes.
Good luck on your next speech!