10 Steps to Reduce Speech Anxiety
by Lenny Laskowski

1. Know the room - become familiar with the place in which you will speak. Arrive early and walk around the room including the speaking area. Stand at the lectern, speak into the microphone. Walk around where the audience will be seated. Walk from where you will be seated to the lectern, as you will be when introduced.

2. Know the Audience - If possible, greet some of the audience as they arrive and chat with them. It's easier to speak to a group of friends than to a group of strangers.

3. Know Your Material - Of you are not familiar with your material or are uncomfortable with it, your nervousness will increase. Practice your speech and revise it until you can present it with ease.

4. Learn How to Relax - You can ease tension by doing exercises. Sit comfortably with your back straight. Breathe in slowly, hold your breath for 4 to 5 seconds, then slowly exhale. To relax facial muscles, open you mouth and eyes wide, then close then tightly.

5. Visualize Yourself Speaking - Imagine yourself walking confidently to the lectern as the audience applauds. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and assured. When you visualize yourself as successful, you will be successful.

6. Realize People Want You To Succeed - All audiences want speakers to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They want you to succeed - not fail.

7. Don't Apologize - Most of the time your nervousness does not show at all. If you don't say anything about it, nobody will notice. If you mention your nervousness or apologize for any problems you think you have with your speech, you'll only be calling attention to it. Had you remained silent, your listeners may not have noticed anything.

8. Concentrate on Your Message - not the medium. Your nervous feelings will dissipate if you focus your attention away from your anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience, not yourself.

9. Turn Nervousness Into Positive Energy - the same nervous energy that causes platform panic can be an asset to a speaker. Harness it, and transform it into vitality and enthusiasm.

10. Gain Experience - Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. Most beginning speakers find their anxieties decrease after each speech they give.

Author's Bio: 

Lenny Laskowski, DTM & Professional Speaker
Professional Member - The National Speakers Association
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