Reducing speech anxiety, particularly when having to address individuals or groups, can be accomplished in several ways.
Tip #1: First practice your speech in front of a mirror. Get used to hearing your own voice. Begin softly; then increase the volume as you become more comfortable. Next, practice your speech in front of family members, but with a twist. Turn your back towards them, so you are not facing them while speaking.
It is important to understand that reducing speech anxiety solely rests on your confidence and self-esteem. By not having to look directly at your family, you will eventually gain the confidence for the next step. When you feel you can speak in a comfortable and non threatening manner and knowing full well there are family members in the room, now is the time to turn around and recite your speech again. Slowly and in a calm manner, begin the speech. If you falter or begin to feel anxious, or your legs feel unsteady; stop and relax; then start again.
Do not ask for, nor question how you performed. Repeat the exercise until you feel assured you did a good job; then you can freely ask for their comments.
Tip #2: Before speaking in public; utilize breathing exercises to calm your nerves. Take sips of water to alleviate the dryness in your mouth. When in front of the crowd, make a connection with someone you feel comfortable with. Speak to that person during your speech.
Eventually you will begin to relax; your volume will increase and the anxiety will dissipate. At the end of your speech, invoke questions from the crowd; being able to have an open dialog will give you additional confidence to expand your speech and explain yourself more fully.
Tip #3: Reducing speech anxiety when addressing a crowd can also be accomplished through movement. Instead of standing still, use a portable microphone and walk around the stage or room; find those people who seem focused on what you are saying and speak directly to them.
Walking also relieves the tension in your body; it enables you to become more animated while speaking; thus alleviating further feelings of inadequacy. After all, anxiety encompasses a variety of self-esteem issues such as: “Do I sound stupid;" “Will they laugh at me when I speak;" “Is what I am trying to convey being understood, " and so on.
Reducing speech anxiety encompasses many factors, all of which you are aware of and can deal with. It is just a matter of recognizing them; improving your confidence and self-esteem; and giving yourself a break from thinking you are not worthy as an individual.
Battling anxiety? Randy Rhodes is a former sufferer of anxiety who battled his panic attacks and WON without chemicals! If you found these reducing speech anxiety tips helpful, be sure to check out his site: