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I'm so nervous during presentations and meetings, how can I improve my public speaking?

164 Answers
Last Updated: 02/16/2021 at 9:38am
I'm so nervous during presentations and meetings, how can I improve my public speaking?
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Stacy Overton, PhD.


I am an enthusiastic life-long learner and also a professor of counseling. I have a passion for peoples stories and helping to guide and empower the human spirit.

Top Rated Answers
Anonymous - Expert in Work Stress
September 11th, 2014 11:33pm
in my personal experience, for me to lose this fear i did 3 things. 1. change my mind set, fear of public speaking is on of the most common fear, this happens because when we are speaking with all this eyes on us we are afraid we are being judged, or we afraid that we will mess up, or maybe be silent for to long. so when i say i had to change my mind set i mean, i had to tell my self that people are listening for theyre own interest, they are not there for me, they are there for the for the information i have to offer them. 2.i had to stop thinking about what could go wrong, when i had a presentation coming up i only had to think about the information i was about to give and how i was going to give it. i wouldnt block the negative thoughts, i would embrace them, why do i do this? well if i block it out it will always be there, it wont go away and also we only learn when we fail, so dont be afraid to fail. 3. face your fears, ive learn that the only way of getting rid of a fear is by facing it, no matter how hard it is, you can put it on hold, you can try to run away from it but it will always be there until you face it. so i just take a deep breath and go for it
November 22nd, 2015 6:03pm
Lets start by asking yourself this: Can you imagine yourself being the most confident speaker during your presentations and meetings? If yes, good. This is the mindset you need. If no, then this is where the core of your problem lies. A fear of public speaking is often related with social anxiety - being afraid of what others think, disliking being the centre of attention, being judged etc. The way you can beat this is firstly by believing you can. If you think this has something to do with social anxiety then something that will help you would be to do things that you would not normally do or be afraid to do - something out of your comfort zone. Push yourself to do things in social situations, this will build your confidence (step by step, no need to rush) and before you know it, you'll be the most confident speaker out of all your colleagues. However, if you think this is not related with social anxiety and just get nervous about public speaking, I would suggest the first thing you do is the ask yourself why. Is it because you're afraid of being judged? Language barrier? Anything. Then reassure yourself, because I'm going to be completely honest with you: most people don't really care. They are probably thinking about something else or how to present their own presentations. They are not there to mock you, trust me. Finding out why you get nervous and believing it WILL get better is the first major steps you can take. Let me tell you a story: I was terrified of public speaking, even the thought of it made me nervous. But the problem with me, was I wanted to be good at public speaking but never really tried. I just complained and that made my situation worse. I then came to my senses and sought out for guidance and help. My problem was I had social anxiety so over a course of 1-2 years (my social anxiety was pretty bad) I gradually overcame my problem, without the help of any therapist. I believed in myself. Bottom line is, you don't need anyone else's acceptance of you - you need to accept yourself! Don't care about what other people think. If you don't care about what they think, then you could start and finish your presentation in a breeze. I hope I helped, good luck! :)
April 12th, 2015 7:02pm
Maybe it would sound weird, but by practicing. You should start with talking to yourself first; if you're ashamed, you can wait until your house is empty so you can do it. Maybe you can talk to your pet, if you have one. Then, when you feel ready enough, talk in front of your family members. Then to your friends, again, when you feel ready enough... And finally, I guess you'll be prepared for public speaking. It takes time, don't force yourself too much, if you're not brave enough for something or feel uncomfortable doing it, don't do it. As I said, when you feel ready, do it, and I think that by practicing you will feel ready soon. For more help, you can contact me here! :)
September 25th, 2015 2:36pm
Giving presentations can actually become fun. I used to be petrified of speaking in public. However, once I improved, I started "raising my hand" to speak as often as possible. I developed a workshop known as S.P.E.A.K which I use to train people on how to become more comfortable mastering the skill of communicating effectively. The quick tip for today is all about structure. A lack of structure often causes a speaker to get nervous and perform poorly. Having a clear structure accomplishes two things. 1) You hardly ever forget what you want to say. 2) You give the audience a great way to stay engaged the entire time. For instance, when I start my speech by introducing the S.P.E.A.K acronym, the audience has a complete "road map" of what I will be discussing which prevents them from losing focus. I also know exactly where I am in the presentation and never have to worry about losing my train of thought; this also makes you appear polished. This one simple technique will lessen your fears substantially. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to reach out.
October 21st, 2015 10:27pm
I still get nervous when I speak in a large setting is not my comfort zone. I do a lot of preparation in front of a mirror and listen to my self by recording what i am speaking about.
September 11th, 2015 1:05am
I used to be a shy person , and every time and my teach said that we have a research project which includes a representation at the end , I used to freak out, and the day of the presentation I used to be very nervous , but the. I realized that we all make mistakes , so it's fine if you were presenting and u said someone thing wrong , it's not a big deal.
September 16th, 2015 3:11am
Although a room full of beady eyes staring at you may feel incredibly intimidating, most people sitting in front of you really do want you to be successful at your presentation. In a meeting, they want you to get your point across and help them know the goals and objects. It is easy for us to get caught up in worrying about what other people thing of what we look like, what we are wearing and even how we talk. Most of the time people just want to hear want you are saying. So go in with the attitude that those people are cheering for you.. not judging!
November 7th, 2014 3:35am
Remember to breathe - a lot of the times when we are nervous, it's the first thing that we forget, and it causes us to tense up and for our muscles to lose control (this can result in stuttering or shaking). It's helpful to focus on the content instead of the audience. Also, test-running a speech in front of friends can be a good experience to anticipate what might come up as a challenge when you are delivering the content in front of people!
October 31st, 2014 3:13pm
Practice what you are going to say. Write it down completely, memorize it and think of all things that you can be asked. Make sure you know all answers. If you have a 10 minute presentation, think it may last for 20 minutes and be ready with extra preparation. Practice deep breathing for calming yourself . Everyone makes little mistakes.
November 9th, 2014 2:49pm
Practice practice practice! Practice makes perfect. In my experience, you get less nervous when you do it more often. You can make yourself less nervous by making sure you know everything perfectly and, a tip I got from Ned's Survivalguide, imagine everyone in their underwear. Just don't start laughing ;)
August 30th, 2015 1:39am
I never get over the nervousness, but I learned that really preparing before meetings and really knowing my stuff for presentations is the first step. Then I make sure I get good sleep, and constantly focus on breathing slowly and evenly. Feeling your hands or feet helps to ground you too. Also, realize that you're not in the spotlight, that most people are thinking of themselves anyway, and won't notice the things that you overanalize yourself for....
May 17th, 2015 7:37am
I think one of the best way is imagine yourself frequently in your mind in this way : you are speaking in public very well and people enjoy and clap for you. you are very satisfy . this imagination has to be very normal with the real situation
September 21st, 2015 12:25am
Practice often helps. Rehearse what you would like to say in front of the mirror, in front of a pet, in front of friends or family members. Ask for their feedback. Bring notes as a backup plan. And sometimes, admitting that you're nervous when speaking to a crowd can help. Smile; say "Wow, there's so many of you. I'm nervous to be up here." It clears the air, and might help you feel more comfortable.
September 30th, 2015 1:02pm
If I relax before I go on, my nerves just ease away. But how does one relax? By not obsessing over what you are about to do. If you go over and over your speech before you go on, you will be in a constant state of reminding yourself that you are about to make yourself nervous. Instead, do something to get your mind off what you are about to do. Also, most people don't realize this, but nerves have a serious effect on how you speak in front of people. Nearly everyone who gets nervous when speaking in front of people will speak faster than they normally would. This can lead to you not being understood and most certainly seeming nervous. To avoid this pitfall, rehearse your speech more slowly than you would normally, you will be more at ease and relaxed when you rehearse. That way, when the nerves kick in, you will most likely be speaking at a normal pace. Hope I was helpful! :D
May 24th, 2015 5:06am
As a member of the Air Force, I am also often asked to make presentations - sometimes in front of important, high-ranking officials. Preparation is the key to success. Create your initial draft, review it, make the necessary revisions, and then practice, practice, practice! You may choose a way to rehearse from several different ways; in front of a mirror, in front of friends or family, or even using a recording device to measure your pace. As long as you start early enough and make an honest effort to prepare, your presentation will have a much better chance at coming across clearly, and you will feel much better knowing you have the knowledge and confidence to give the best presentation that you possibly can. Additionally, you may want to consider taking a course through a local college or university, or even and adult education course, specifically designed to help you improve your public speaking skills. Good luck!
November 12th, 2014 12:53am
I also had this experience and i took it step by step, maybe practice it to yourself on your own in your room and go over it so it's clear to you, then ask a friend or family member to come in and practice in front of them. Take deep breathes and be confident in yourself that you know you can do this. The people you are doing a presentation to or in a meeting with are exactly the same as you, human beings.
December 4th, 2015 9:17am
its very easy. think you are expert of that subject and all audience knows nothing. Practice in front of full size mirror. And try to remember points only not full body. you can also refer to the book of Dale Carnegie "Public Speaking"
September 3rd, 2015 2:54am
The first thing I learned to not feeling nervous during presentations, is to be prepared. Know your information or topic without having to rely on note cards or a written script. Secondly, practice in front of a friend or family member multiple times, and ask them for their feedback. This allows you a couple of test trials. Lastly, speak boldly and with confidence, your tone of voice sets the stage for your presentation.
September 4th, 2015 8:25pm
You can improve your situation by being PREPARED. That is the key word. Being Prepared. Practice you presentation , make sure you know it inside and out, make sure you look the part while giving it. Plan a nice outfit or hairstyle. Something to help you feel "more confident" about yourself. Its ok to feel nervous, but being prepared might help you to ease those feelings for the better.
September 10th, 2015 1:06am
What helped me the most was realizing that every single member of my audience would be just as nervous if he or she were in my shoes. When I figured that out, suddenly I was able to talk to them as individuals rather than as an audience.
September 12th, 2015 9:32pm
Take a deep breath & remember that you are there to make a difference and a paycheck. I would try & keep in mind that it's just a few minutes out of your day that could make a difference for a lifetime.
November 6th, 2014 11:42am
You can practice meditation before you make your speech by actually imagining that things will go quite well calming yourself down and by taking few deep breathes :)
September 9th, 2015 11:08pm
This means you feel you don't have sufficient knowledge about the topic you are going to give a presentation on. This may be not the reality. Should give yourself some confidence.
August 28th, 2015 2:53am
I used to practice in front of a mirrior and then when i went in front for my speech i would foccon their foreheads or just behind their eyes so i am not looking at their eyes
September 25th, 2015 3:26am
Find somewhere to be alone before you speak, then? Yell. Be ridiculous. Sing nursery rhymes at the top of your lungs, skip in circles, sing a musical number! Break out and be silly and you'll be ready to conquer anything.
October 19th, 2014 5:10pm
when you i usually go up to present i start out with A smile, it lets you focus your energy towards your facial expressions rather than figiting around with your hands.
August 20th, 2015 5:08am
Practice speaking in front of a mirror looking at yourself. Then find friends and practice speaking to them a few times.
August 26th, 2015 4:09pm
Practice makes perfect. Start out by practicing your speech alone, or in front of a trusted person that you feel comfortable with. Work on your on-position motions to reinforce the image of a reassuring and self-confident speaker.
September 2nd, 2015 7:57pm
Practice in front of family, friends, or even a mirror. The more you practice, the less afraid you will be and you will be less likely to miss an important topic because it becomes almost muscle memory.
September 26th, 2015 8:53am
This is personally something I've struggled with and can very closely relate to. I have found that setting out to deliver the best speech possible, and imagining that scenario in my head helps. Instead of looking at the faces in the crowd I look at the people present but imagine my perfect audience in my head. This seems to provide a disconnecting affect that helps to remove me from the glare of the people present. I'm too busy thinking about my speech and what I'm saying to be bothered by the people in the audience.