Written by: Kristian Bergagnin, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Public speaking can be a daunting task for many, and the anxiety it generates can be traced back to past experiences that have left imprints in our minds, both positive and negative. If you've ever felt your heart race and your thoughts run wild at the mere thought of stepping up to speak in front of an audience, fear not! In this article, we will explore three effective strategies to help you calm your nerves before public speaking. These techniques are designed to ease your anxiety and allow you to shine during your presentation.
1. Practice intentional breathing
The first step to calming your nerves is to practice intentional breathing. This technique can be a game-changer when it comes to regaining control over a triggered nervous system. To do this, follow these steps:
Place your right hand on your abdomen, just below your ribcage.
Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, allowing your diaphragm to expand and your stomach to rise.
As you exhale, say the word "release" either silently or out loud.
Repeat this process 5 to 10 times in the moments leading up to your presentation.
Intentional breathing calms your nervous system, reassuring it that everything is under control. This simple yet highly effective exercise helps you remain present and focused.
2. Identify and confront fearful thoughts
Fearful thoughts often swirl through our minds in the lead-up to public speaking engagements. These thoughts can intensify anxiety, making it essential to address and dispel them. You can do this by:
Identifying the specific thought that triggers your anxiety.
Consciously acknowledge the fear rather than internalizing or protecting it.
Repeat the word cancel, cancel, cancel in your mind three times to erase that thought.
Share your fearful thoughts with a trusted family member or friend.
By voicing your fears, you release their grip on your psyche and empower yourself to move past them. Sharing your concerns with someone you trust disempowers that fear and can provide the support and reassurance you need.
3. Repeat positive mantras
Our thoughts significantly influence our actions and feelings, and adopting a positive mindset is crucial for successful public speaking. A positive mantra is a powerful tool that can help you short-circuit the fears that often rattle your confidence. Consider using mantras like:
"I am clear and concise."
"I am confident and capable."
“I am calm and composed.”
Repeat these mantras in your mind as you prepare for your presentation, and even during your speech if necessary. The repetition of positive affirmations can help reprogram your mindset and boost your self-assurance.
Nervousness before public speaking is a common experience, but with the right techniques, you can effectively manage your anxiety and deliver a successful presentation. By incorporating intentional breathing, confronting fearful thoughts, and embracing positive mantras, you can regain control over your nerves and enhance your overall performance. So, the next time you find yourself standing in front of an audience, remember these three tips to help settle your nerves and present with confidence and poise.
Need more support? We can help! Whether it’s 1-on-1 coaching or group workshops, our Communicating with Confidence program at ImprovYou will transform your fear of public speaking into one of your greatest strengths.
Kristian Bergagnin, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Kristian's greatest joy is forming authentic connections, discovering individual strengths, and empowering transformative self-development every step of the way. As the founder of ImprovYou, a soft skills training organisation with a difference, Kristian combines educational principles with improvised learning activities to accelerate skills in a fun, safe and practical environment. Connect with us to explore how we can customise a program for you or your team!