Mark Twain said, “There are two types of speakers: those who are nervous and those who are liars.”
If you’re dreading an upcoming speech, you are in good company. Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Elvis Presley, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher, Barbara Walters, Johnny Carson and even Aristotle all suffered some measure of public communication apprehension.
We can take solace that many talented and important people have felt nervous before or while performing. If they can achieve so much despite battling butterflies, then there must be hope for all of us.
It’s impossible to eliminate public speaking anxiety, but here are 20 things you can do to keep calm:
1. Enlighten your audience; don’t just inform them.
Anyone can read words off a script. Your job is to simplify your subject matter and convey it in a compelling manner. You’ll be far less nervous if you focus on turning information into something your audience can relate to and remember.
2. Speak to your audience before you meet them.
Make your speech about your audience, not about you. Learn as much as you can about your audience, and prepare with them in mind.