How to deal with stress during public speaking?

How to deal with stress during public speaking?

Everyone, had to perform publicly without any exceptions and we will definitely have to deal with this challenge again. As kids we presented something in front of our aunties during birthdays, during in pre-school shows, later on in school reading essays or going to the board for oral answers. Then we had school shows, end of high school presentations etc. Have you ever been so stressed that you forgot everything you wanted to say? Or maybe when you hear that you have to make a public speech, your heart starts beating faster and you want to hide at home or buy a last-minute trip? How to deal with it?


1.Preparation makes master

The first thing you should take care of is preparation. The right amount of repetitions will make you confident of what you want to say. Additionally, we tame our „reptile”, so our reptile brain is responsible for our reactions- to fight, run away, pretend to be dead. How do we do it? Tell yourself a pitch. Afterwards try to repeat it to your dog, someone you live with, friends, family, colleagues. You will get used to being in the centre of attention and performing. The stress level is always much higher when we are unprepared and we don’t have a considered strategy. This is a little bit like universities exams- if you only revise 2 hours before, then you might be really nervous.

2. Relax

It’s good to take care of a prosaic thing and for some people it’s obvious- the proper amount of sleep, after relaxing. There are plenty of relaxation and meditation techniques. Everything which causes chillout is good. Some people take it easy by doing crosswords, walking, cleaning or reading books. Find the right method for yourself. Breathing exercises which calm down our body and soul always work well.

3. Visualisation

Visualisation comes from… sport. For many years success mental training has been used by athletes. Research on the human brain has revealed that when we think about something, we do in real e.g. hitting a ball with a racket, the same areas of our brain are activated like during a physical game. How to use it? We can imagine standing self-confidently on the stage, with an applauding audience in front of us.

4. Plan B

Positive thinking is extremely important after we create a Plan B in a situation when something goes wrong. How would you react if someone negated your presentation? What arguments could you use if someone disagreed with you? How would you encourage the audience to listen if you saw that they were bored? What would you do if you forgot the text? How would you behave if the computer stopped working? If you answer these questions, you will eliminate stress because you will be prepared for multiple situations to happen.

5. Don’t expect progress overnight

Becoming a professional speaker can take time and effort. Learn from your mistakes and don’t treat it as the end of the world, but like a lesson. Edison said “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” Don’t give up. From my experience I know that most people don’t like performing. During training sessions participants are surprised that they are not the only ones afraid to go on the stage. If you really want to work on this you can sign up to some workshops and individual sessions with a specialist who will coach you in this area. If you need any support from me, click here to read about performance coaching.

Magdalena Fiałkowska