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Five Tips to Overcome the "Speech Jitters"

Image Public speaking is something many of us dread. Although there are some people who are masters of the craft, the vast majority of us either begin to get sweaty palms or develop the sudden compulsion to use the bathroom whenever we have to speak in front of a group of people. Is there hope for those of us with the “speech jitters”?   Franklin D. Roosevelt once said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” and, if we are to accept his statement, we will realize that we can overcome our fears of public speaking by following these five tips.

Tip No. 1: Know Your Audience

If we truly get to understand who our audience is, we will truly be able to craft a speech that will appeal to their interests. When the audience is interested, our fear gradually diminishes. For example, if you are making a presentation to students at a high school about following their dreams, then it may be a good idea for you to develop a highly entertaining speech involving audio and visual references. Young people love excitement and once you are able to grab and maintain their interest, you will be able to have confidence in your presentation.

Tip No. 2: Practice

One of the key concepts the Toastmasters program teaches its participants is the importance of practicing your speech. Stand up in front of a mirror and time yourself as you make your speech. As you look at your reflection, take note of your gestures and facial expressions and ensure that you are not overdoing either of them. Additionally, you can practice in front of your friends or relatives and allow them to give you feedback so that you can make improvements if necessary. Being fully prepared to make your speech will give you some of the confidence you need to overcome your fear of public speaking.

Tip No.3: Research

In order to write the best possible speech, it is important for you to research your topic. Instead of just presenting your own thoughts and opinions, find articles or books that support your claims. People have more respect for someone who takes the time to properly craft his or her speech.

Tip No. 4: Focus on Something or Someone in the Room

If you are still extremely nervous, it may be helpful for you to pick someone from the audience to focus on while you are presenting your speech. This may help you to feel as though you are having a conversation with someone instead of an entire auditorium full of people. As you build more confidence, you can maintain eye contact with more than one person in the room and therefore better engage the audience.



Tip No. 5: Walk Around

When I am extremely nervous I tend to pace around a room because it has somewhat of a calming effect. I am not saying that you should pace when making your speech, but you can change your position at instances where you feel the nerves kicking in. Many people stay behind a lectern or podium and speak to the audience but changing that routine a bit can help to alleviate some of the fears you have.

Public speaking seems like a daunting task for many but it is something that we all can do once we overcome our fears. I believe that if you follow these tips you will be able to become the confident public speaker you want to be.




To live a truly fulfilling life, I believe that there are certain attributes we should all aspire to attain. I believe that we should be.... Bold


Fear can be our worst enemy and hold us back from some amazing opportunities.  Being bold doesn't mean that fear is absent. Instead, it means that you look fear in the eyes and say "I'm stronger than you". Be bold enough to not succuum to peer pressure and to stand up for what you believe in. Be bold enough to explore new frontiers and go outside of your comfort zone. When you do something that you truly thought you could never do is when you begin to realise your true potential.



Each of us has a unique personality and unique interests that help to make us the people we are. However, some of us succumb to peer pressure and allow those around us to change who we truly are. Always remember to be true to yourself and appreciate who you are. When you truly love yourself and your individuality is when you can truly begin to make a meaningful impact in other people's lives.



Never settle for mediocrity. In everything that you do, be the best that you can be.  Even if you hate your job, give it 110% of your never know who is watching you and could provide you with the opportunity of a lifetime. Be the best that you can be in all that you do.



The Bible speaks many times about humility. For example, in Romans 12:3 it speaks about us not thinking that we are better than we are but to instead think of ourselves in "sober judgement". Also, in Proverbs 16:8 it says that "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall". Live a life of humility and people will respect you for it. No one is better than anyone else and we are each blessed with our own gifts and abilities.



In our society, we tend to view love as a feeling of intimacy between two people. However, love is far more than that and extends to everyone we interact with. Love means being helpful and understanding other people's circumstances. It means not being disrespectful to those around us and offering a smile to those who pass our way. If there were more of this type of love in the world, violence and crime would be virtually non-existent.




Conquering Fear

fear-of-being-sick Fear is like a powerful lion; it preys on us and attacks us with such ferocity that we never want to step forward into new territory. It prevents us from realising our dreams and cripples our potential.  As Charles Stanley aptly puts it "Fear stifles out thinking and actions It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather then risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins."

How can we transform this looming predator into our prey? Here are some tips that I believe we all can apply to make this transformation a reality: Understand Your Limitations The good thing about fear is that it allows us to see what we may not be strong at. However, we shouldn't become consumed by our limitations since they do not negate the fact they our strengths give us the authority to step into new territory. For instance, I know that I am not good at marketing. I couldn't sell a pen to save my life. Nevertheless, in order for me to become an entrepreneur I need to have confidence in myself and what I am offering so that I can approach people and obtain clients. I have to get beyond the voices in my head telling me that people will think I'm stupid or that the product makes no sense and just go out and do what I need to do.

Garner Support Don't be afraid to talk to your friends about your fear. They can help you to overcome it by providing you with good advice or just being there when you need to make the next step. In the scenario I mentioned earlier, for example, my friends have shown me the immense business opportunity I have in my own community. They have opened my eyes to what the business prospects could be and although they can't be with me to help me market the product, they have given me the confidence to move forward.

Believe in Yourself Theodore Roosevelt once said "Believe in yourself and you are halfway there." When you begin to have confidence in your abilities and ideas, fear no longer has control over you. This can be the beginning of many life changing experiences. However, you must be careful of being overconfident. We should embrace our strengths and believe in them but we should also understand our limitations. Understanding your limitations will prevent you from either becoming overwhelmed or disappointed later on. For instance, you may think that you are the best singer in the world and, against the advice of your friends and family, you decide to enter American Idol only to be brutally rejected by the judges. Clearly, your ability isn't singing but maybe it is building beats or writing lyrics. That overconfidence could therefore be misplaced confidence which is why it is important for you to truly understand what your abilities really are and believe in them. It is also important for AT LEAST ONE other person to believe in your abilities as well. If everyone around you and even strangers you meet tell you point blank that what you're trying to do isn't for you then they are more than likely right.

Embrace Change When we are about to enter new seasons in our lives, change is inevitable. Don't let the fear of change hold you back from amazing opportunities. In order to advance, change must happen. I have a friend who got an amazing opportunity to study in Europe for three years. He took the opportunity and has gained so much exposure and experience that he is able to get a job almost anywhere in the world. I can assure you that if I had been offered the same opportunity I would have rejected it because I would fear going into a new environment and leaving those I know behind. When the opportunities arise, don't reject them because you fear change.

Understand That There May Be Rejection There is always a 50/50 chance that you may not get the response you were hoping for. A classic example of this is the nice guy who is afraid to approach the girl he likes. Of course he is afraid that she will say she doesn't feel the same and only views him as a friend, but she may also actually feel the same way he does. The fact of the matter is that he will never know unless he asks.

Another example is people who go on a job search. You may see a job that you really like and you have 90% of the qualifications for but you don't apply because you believe the HR manager will just tear up your application since you only have 90% of the qualifications. How are you so certain that that's what is going to happen? She may just look at your resume and be so impressed that she calls you for an interview. Take the 50/50 chance.

Fear is the thorn in our sides. Don't allow it to pierce your dreams. Follow these tips and you will be amazed by the opportunities that present themselves.