People experience various levels of anxiety when faced with making a presentation or speech in front of an audience. Some feel very comfortable with the process, and at ease as the focus of attention. Others experience nausea, and nervousness that can negatively affect their performance, and many fall somewhere between these two extremes.
If you find yourself nervous before a presentation in class, there are exercises and tips that can help you overcome your anxiety and be at ease, and College offers the best opportunity to master public speaking skills!
Top 6 Tips to Beat Public Speaking Anxiety:
- Know Your Topic – speak about a topic which you are familiar with and know more than you are going to present. Know the topic well enough to be able to answer relevant questions that might come up.
- Practice – as always, practice makes perfect. Rehearse your speech or presentation repeatedly until it becomes 2nd nature, learn when to slow down, take a breath, or insert a pause for emphasis.
- Know the Audience – it is much more comforting to speak to a room of friends than a group of strangers. Take the opportunity to greet and mingle with your audience before your presentation and get to know them!
- Get Comfortable – get to know the venue where you will be speaking or presenting, do a run through and test how loud you’ll need to speak, how the presentation slides work, and orient yourself with the amenities (including the washroom). It is easier to feel comfortable and at ease once you’ve had a real practice at the venue and know exactly what to expect.
- Take a Moment – when nervous it is a common habit to buy time with ‘Uhms’, or apologies for momentarily loosing focus. Instead, take a deep breath, have a drink of water, count to 3 to calm yourself down, and continue from where you left off. The time it takes you to do this might feel like an eternity, but in reality it’s only 3 seconds and the audience probably hasn’t even noticed.
- Get Experience – college is the perfect place to perfect public speaking skills. All Metro College Programs include a requirement to do a presentation in front of a class or small group. This is to encourage the development of communication skills in a safe learning environment where instructors and peers can provide positive feedback and constructive criticism.
Bonus Tip: Practice in front of a friend and ask for an honest critique of your presentation and public speaking skills and work up to doing your presentation in front of 4 people, then 8. You will notice you become more and more at ease with practice!