Infographic: 9 ways to conquer public-speaking anxiety

The irrational, overwhelming fear of presenting in front of a crowd is a common phobia, but that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome it. These tips can help.

I’ll never forget the first time I gave a presentation.

I was in third grade, and each student had to give a speech about one of the 50 states.

I was presenting about California, and I kicked off my talk with a cute little skit about a dream I’d had that I’d visited the Golden State. I got an A on the presentation, and my teacher started calling me Miss Hollywood.

Thankfully, I’ve always felt fairly comfortable in front of an audience, but most people don’t.

If you’re among the majority of people who break into a cold sweat simply thinking about public speaking, check out this infographic from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. It reveals nine ways to quell public-speaking anxiety.

Here are a few of the tips:

Acknowledge your anxiety: Say to yourself, “This is me feeling anxiety.” This separates you from your feelings, which can help you evaluate them—not be swept up by them.

Reframe the material: Discuss your presentation with friends and family. Conversing about your material-not presenting it—will help you feel like there’s more than one right way to communicate it.

Connect with your audience: Shake hands with audience members before your talk. This physical connection releases oxytocin, which will calm you down.

Outsmart your feelings: As you begin to sweat, breathe faster or develop a knot in your stomach, remind yourself that those reactions are normal—because they are! Saying so will help you feel more comfortable before you speak.

How do you gain control over public-speaking anxiety? Share your best tips in the comments.

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