1. Gain experience. Stage fright diminishes with knowledge and experience. Experience builds confidence which is key to effective speaking. Most beginning speakers find their anxiety decreases after each speech they give.

2. Be thoroughly prepared for your speeches: do your homework and Practice, Practice, Practice!

3. Have a positive attitude. Think positively about yourself and the speech experience. Positive thinking creates confidence.

4. Use the power of visualization. This technique is used by athletes, actors, musicians and professional speakers to enhance performance in stressful situations. Picture yourself succeeding!

5. Remember, most of the time we don’t see your nervousness.

6. Give yourself a break. Don’t expect perfection. Even professional speakers goof sometimes but usually nobody notices except the speaker. It’s more about your message and overall performance and less about if you said “um” one time.

7. Be at your physical and mental best when speaking.

8. Quietly tighten and relax hand or leg muscles while waiting to speak to release pent up tension.

9. Take a few slow deep breaths before starting your speech.

10. Try using audio/visual aids if you feel comfortable.

11. Turn anxiety into energy – be colorful, move around. Physical signs of nervousness are caused by pent up energy in your body. Moving around expends that energy and helps to calm you.

12. Don’t lock your knees.

13. Familiarize yourself with the venue: make sure you feel comfortable and know where you are supposed to stand, etc.

14. Wear comfortable (and appropriate) clothes and make sure your hair isn’t in your eyes, etc.

15. Smile. It’s a natural human reaction to smile at someone who smiles at us. It’s easier to feel confident in front of a smiling audience. Smile at them and they will smile at you.

16. Get to know your audience; greet people to feel more comfortable.

17. Keep in mind that your audience wants you to succeed.

18. Don’t apologize for nervousness or mistakes.

19. Focus on your message and the audience rather than your nervousness.

20. Say a little prayer for success before you begin.

21. Do whatever works for you. If you don’t like any of these suggestions, think up your own techniques (and share what works with others to build confidence).

Author's Bio: 

Ruth Hegarty is passionate about helping professional and entrepreneurial women create authentic personal power and confidence in all that they do. As a certified professional coach and educator, she is adept at creating and customizing tools and programs to help even the most unsure women transform themselves into joyful and powerful creators. Ruth is founder of Leap of Confidence, a leader in women’s empowerment and an avid promoter of self-determination.

Download Ruth’s powerful free confidence building e-book at www.ruthhegarty.com/id36.html and receive a free subscription to her popular online newsletter, “IALAC News” (it stands for I Am Lovable And Capable), which brings a weekly dose of practical and powerful confidence to its readers.

As a formerly extremely shy underachiever, Ruth truly understands the personal demons that hold women back and, most importantly, how to shed those demons and become authentically our powerful brilliant selves. Learn more and contact Ruth at www.coachruth.com.