Speaking Up: Improving Your Speech Anxiety

Intimidated public speaker

In a perfect world, we would be able to communicate easily and no one would be intimidated to stand at the front of a crowded room to deliver a message. There is something about public speaking that makes a large percentage of us fearful. According to Psychology Today, 60 percent of people experience some form of speech anxiety. We break out into a cold sweat, feel our heartbeats pounding through our chests and can’t stop the “um’s” and “uhh’s” that escape our mouths, all against our better judgment.

Nerves are normal. We just have to learn to turn our fear into constructive commitment. Here are a few tips on how to build your confidence and get comfortable with public speaking.

Positive Visualization

Positive visualization is a tactic used across the board from written exams to free-throw shots, because it works. Take a few minutes before a speech to picture yourself standing confidently before a captivated audience and you stand a better chance of successfully delivering your message. Plus, this method can help you channel any potential anxiety into an effective presentation. Once you accept that getting nervous is okay, you can visualize yourself conquering those butterflies.


If you’re preparing for a speech with your thoughts scattered, it’s hard to get a grasp on where to go from there. Know your speech’s key points, and avoid word-for-word memorization. If you focus on the outline, you won’t get overwhelmed. Practice and practice again by reviewing your talking points and getting comfortable with your topic.

Make it Easier

Third-party tools such as Prezi or an accompanying video are also great ways to keep you on topic. They reinforce important points and can serve as reminders for your smaller details. The stylized animations not only give your presentation a little flair, but also improve the audience’s attention and interaction.

Learn About Your Audience

Whether your audience is comprised of white-collar professionals, food junkies or cat lovers, practice the most effective ways to cater to them. Do a little research on your audience before the event to find out what they want out of a speaker. If it’s a random crowd, be prepared to pick up on social cues and body language as you give your presentation. If they look bored or anxious, interact with them. Pose a question to get them to stand up or raise their hands. Third-party tools such as Prezi or an accompanying video are also great ways to improve audience attention and interaction. Making your audience a part of your speech will keep them engaged and keep you feeling confident.

At Appleton Creative, we’re available and ready to talk. Our strategic marketing team has a number of speaking engagements including a charity marketing address at the Firefighter Benevolent Association Marketing event, a networking seminar and podcast at FullSail University and a presentation on brand and digital at the national Precision Door annual franchisee event. Check back for details on these speeches, and contact us to get an expert Appletonian at your next engagement.

Don’t sweat your next presentation. Appleton Creative is an award-winning, full-service advertising agency located in Orlando, Florida. Appleton works with local, national and international clients to provide marketing strategies through print, web, social media and video productionall in-house. At Appleton, we want to learn about your business, empower your marketing team and be your creative resource. Your marketing goals are worth a conversation: contact us at 407-246-0092 or info@appletoncreative.com.

Thank you to Sylvia Boyd for the enlightening infographic.

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