Whether you’re an old pro or new to the stage, public speaking is no easy feat. Keynote speakers must regularly deliver cutting-edge content while entertaining the masses. But without preparation, even the best presenters can falter. In advance of your next speaking engagement, Linda Marshall, author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker’s Guide to Success in Every Situation, offers six tips for overcoming stage fright and giving a successful speech:
Stay Hydrated. Jittery nerves can lead to dry-mouth, an uncomfortable symptom of anxiety. Drink plenty of water before speaking, and keep water with you at all times.
Exercise. Working out can help alleviate stress by releasing endorphins. Even a quick walk earlier in the day can have a calming effect.
Visualize. Distract yourself from nervous thoughts by looking at pleasant photos, smiling, telling yourself a joke or taking deep breaths. You can also picture the scenario you wish to experience, with a resulting positive outcome.
Calm Down. Sometimes nervousness can occur in the middle of a speech. Anticipate these moments by taking some deep breaths, regrouping, changing your position or looking audience members in the eye.
Feel the Energy. Good stress can help maintain focus and sharpen your senses. Use the extra awareness to engage your audience and show your passion.
Prepare. Failing to come prepared will undoubtedly have a negative effect on your speech. Practice enunciating the words in front of a friend or family member, or even record yourself and play it back until you feel comfortable.