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University of Tennessee
Managing Your Fear of Public Speaking


Managing Your Fear: During the Speech

Intellectually – be ready

  • Prepare – have a good outline/notecards
  • Practice
  • Understand why this happens and how to cope (see Tips for Before the Speech)

Mentally / emotionally – maximize the opportunity / energy

  • DO
    • Maximize your nervous energy and utilize it as enthusiasm
    • Have a conversation with your audience
    • Embrace the opportunity for successful connection
    • Know that the audience wants you to succeed
    • If you are going to “what if . . . ,” then consider “what if I am . . . brilliant”
  • DO NOT
    • Memorize your presentation
    • Read your speech verbatim
    • Let your nervousness win
    • Visualize failure

Physically - manage the nervousness

  • Be prepared – rested, fed, and with low stress (see Tips for Before the Speech)
  • Allow nervous energy a harmless way to escape – tap foot, use natural gestures
  • Breathe during speech and practice deep breathing/meditation right before