Below are a few simple things that you can do to reduce public speaking fear and eliminate those butterflies in the stomach that most people get when they deliver a business presentation. Follow these public speaking tips, and you should feel more comfortable when you present.
Practice with a Partner: Now that you have a good outline and skeleton of a presentation, practice delivering the speech with a friend or coworker. Practicing alone is a bad idea, because you are your own worst critic. When you practice with a friend, though, you will get good verbal and visual feedback.
Avoid Video Feedback: Video feedback can be a fantastic way to grow as a speaker, but it can also scare the gooey out of you. Avoid video feedback unless you have a really good coach, professionally trained, to go over it with you. Going it alone can cause a lot of challenges.
Get Good at Delivering without Notes and Visual Aids: Since you are practicing a fairly simple speech right now, practice it without notes. Just write your three, four, or five key points on a slide or flip chart and practice delivering the presentation by really developing you stories. At this point, you will only really need to remember which story you want to use for each of your points. Keep it simple.
Butterflies are Normal: At this point, as you practice, you might start to feel butterflies in your stomach or other symptoms of public speaking fear. Don’t worry. This is normal. However, as you practice once or twice, the nervousness should drop pretty dramatically.
Lose Train of Thought? If you lose your train of thought and feel some panic, then one of a couple of things might be happening. You likely have a bunch of bullet points that are difficult to remember. If so, go back through the earlier tips and design your speech differently. If you are feeling light headed and confused, though…
Breath: When we get nervous, we tend to breath more shallowly. When this happens, the speaker will not have enough oxygen which makes the panic even greater… Which alters the breathing even more. When you feel this happening, just stop, and take a deep breath from the diaphragm. To keep this from happening, take a nice deep breath before you say your first sentence.
Realize 90% of Nervousness Doesn’t Show: The audience usually can’t see the butterflies, or shaky hands, or sweaty palms. The problem occurs when we start thinking about these symptoms rather than focusing on the audience and our topic. By human nature, most people are focused on themselves not on you. Focus on them and two things will happen: 1) they will like you more, and 2) much of the nervousness that you feel will go away.
Avoid Writing Presentation Word for Word: don’t fall into the trap of writing everything out so that you don’t forget something. You will be likely to just read it to the audience and probably sound boring when you do. Design you outline as we described above, and you will sound and feel more confident.
Avoid Memorizing Your Entire Speech: Most people believe that if they memorize their written speech, they will sound better than when they read it. It is possible, but not likely, though. More likely, the speaker will, at some point, forget something and panic. Instead, follow the guidelines above to design a good skeleton of a speech, and just memorize your stories.
Follow these public speaking tips, and you'll see your public speaking fear diminish over time.
Doug Staneart is the author of the book Mastering Presentations , and he has written an article with over 101 public speaking tips located at 101 Public Speaking Tips .