Few things elicit the level of fear and self-doubt brought about by public speaking. The physical act alone of standing up in front of a crowd leaves us feeling exposed and vulnerable. What if my mind goes blank? What if I mess up? What do I do with my hands? I hope I don’t ramble and get off topic. Add to that the pressure to deliver value, be entertaining, and represent ourselves or our business in a good light and it’s no wonder we sometimes balk at the opportunity.

When I work with people that have a fear of public speaking, there’s always an a-ha around how much preparation is needed. We’re not taught how to prepare, or even that it matters, so most people don’t know how to set themselves up for success at the front of the room. Fear not. In honor of Freedom from Fear of Public Speaking Month, here are four foolproof ways to master your fear, show up at your best, and even enjoy the experience.

cassie nevitt public speaking
  1. Get help writing your speech. There are ways of structuring your content that set your audience up to get the most out of your speech, and inspire them to take action, if you’re offering. Understand which structure is best for what you’re hoping to accomplish, and get a trusted pair of eyes and ears on your speech.
  2. Practice. A lot. Most of our fears around public speaking boil down to one commonality – a failure to adequately prepare. Get comfortable moving through your content. It’s like learning your commute. With repetition, you start to know which lane to be in when, where traffic is slowest, how your commute is impacted if you leave 10 minutes early or late. You can’t know how to move seamlessly through your content until you’ve run through it over and over and over again. Practice out loud, standing up, at full volume, and playing out your interactions with your audience. Set a timer to know how long it takes so you can easily make necessary adjustments.
  3. Manage your energy. Nerves WILL happen – and you can use that energy to amplify your message and be engaging. Get feedback on how your body broadcasts your insecurities and doubts (fidgeting fingers, hunching shoulders, constricting voice), and incorporate physical movements or vocal warm-ups that cue your body to be more powerful into your pre-speech routine.
  4. Be grounded in your physical body. Your body broadcasts insecurities and doubts, and it’s hard to stay on track when you’re “in your head” or having an “out of body” experience. Be aware of and fully in your physical body. Specifically, flow your attention to the center point of your pelvis, what I call your power center, and ground through your legs and feet. When you’re connected to your power center, you become concise and articulate, people feel more connected to you and your words, and your personal presence increases dramatically. Not sure how to do it? Click here to access my training video, 3 Keys to Presenting with Confidence.

With the right preparation, you can fast-track your experience from freaked out to fearless at the front of the room. And who knows, you might even have a little fun while you’re at it.

Cassie Nevitt is the personal presence expert for conscious women who want to increase their positive impact, but struggle to show up at their best under pressure. When it comes to helping clients develop the presence to speak at the front of the room, ace an interview, or be seen and heard in the boardroom, she’s the industry expert. Cassie is the creator of the Present with Confidence trainings, workshops, and coaching, and Momentum, a women’s mastermind community for conscious entrepreneurs.