The day of a big speech is stressful, to say the least. I see the terror and fear in my classes regularly. I would like to offer some quick and easy tips for managing speech anxiety. Remember these three P's to avoid going into a panic before your next speech:
1.) Preparation. Avoid procrastinating by breaking your work down into smaller chunks. Carefully review the speech instructions. You must know the structure of your speech, your main points, attention getter and overall theme. It's hard to mess up when you know your material well. Also, be sure to rehearse as much as possible. This will all help to alleviate your nerves.
2.) Presence. You can only prepare up to a certain point. When it's time for you to speak, you must approach the event with as much composure as possible. Bring your attention to the room and to your body. Remember to take pauses, and most importantly, to breathe. Preparation is key, but when preparation is no longer possible, calmly deliver your message with presence as best as you can.
3.) Power-pose. No matter how nervous you may feel, don't let your body show it! Move and gesture with as much confidence as you can muster up. Take up space. Demonstrate victory and power through your movements. You'll begin to feel more powerful as you act that way. Amy Cuddy's work through Harvard demonstrates the potential effects of power posing.
So there you have it... If you want to avoid anxiety, remember these three easy tips: preparation, presence and power posing. I suspect they will help you to address your future audiences with a greater sense of confidence!