Hiding under the conference table is not a good look. These tips will help you quell that fear of public speaking so you can crush your quarterly presentation.
Glossophobia. Nope, it’s not a fear of the shiny pink stuff they sell at Sephora. It’s that feeling you get when your boss is like, “How about you present those numbers to all of us in the meeting?”
Suddenly, you’re standing in front of the room—knees a-knockin', pulse racing, stomach turning, deodorant absolutely failing as you grow sweatier and sweatier by the minute.
If you haven’t already figured it out, glossophobia is the fear of public speaking. This very real—and very common—anxiety happens for a number of reasons. On a fancy scientific level, it occurs when your autonomic nervous system gets really, really freaked out, setting your fight-or-flight response into action. (Side note: In a professional setting, we definitely recommend not going with the first of those two options.)
Anxiety over public speaking can also happen because while you’re talking in front of other people, you’re evaluating yourself. We are our own worst critics, right?
The “public-speaking scaries” also come from the inherent challenge of presenting a new idea. Or, if you’re prone to social anxiety and don’t love meeting new people, it may freak you out because it feels like meeting a bunch of new people all at once. Yikes. And let's be real—how many of us are actually good at public speaking? If it's not your top skill, being forced to do it doesn't exactly feel awesome.
So, let’s talk public speaking tips. If you have an upcoming quarterly presentation or another dreaded gig that fills you with anxiety, these seven tools will help you destress, get through it, and maybe … just maybe … have a good time in the process:
No hypnotist required here; we promise. Before your big presentation, practice visualization. Seriously, go with us here.
Close your eyes (okay, maybe finish reading this paragraph first) and imagine your presentation. Picture all of the things that might happen, both good and bad: People interrupting you, your boss falling asleep, wild applause.
Imagine what you might do in every scenario—seriously, even the super crazy ones. Do this until you have a basic plan for the possibilities.
On a practical level, being prepared on your topic and memorizing some info can help public speaking anxiety. That said, being overly prepared by obsessing over the material may compound it.
One tip for getting ready with more confidence involves visiting the space where you’ll be presenting beforehand. If it’s unfamiliar to you, practice the commute. Figure out where the room is in advance. And definitely get used to any new technology, so you look and feel like a total pro when presentation day arrives.
3. Audience engagement
Public speaking can feel pretty scary when you’re making a speech to a roomful of blank stares. Relax a little by engaging the audience. Depending on what’s right for your topic, have a Q&A section, a discussion portion, or call on people to read things out loud. And maintain eye contact—just not in a creepy way!
You don’t have to be the best public speaker in the world. We’ll say that again: You don’t have to be the best public speaker in the world. You really, really don’t.
So what if you’re nervous about public speaking? Just about everyone is! Be okay with it. Acknowledge your fear be expressing it to a trusted coworker. Chances are, that person feels the exact same way.
5. Treat yo’ self
Make like Tom Haverford and treat yo’ self... later, anyway. Have a reward planned after the presentation. Whether it’s a six-pack of your favorite beer, a new dress from your favorite store, or takeout from that delicious Thai spot down the street, keep it in your mind and focus on it when you feel nervous.
6. Avoid triggers
Leave the pre-gaming in college. No booze before your presentation—even if you’re at a work conference and it’s happy hour. It might make you feel loose, but it’ll also make you sloppy. You should also avoid anything that amps up those physical side effects of nervousness—you know, the rapid heartbeat, sweating, and racing pulse. Avoid too much caffeine, sugary snacks, and soda.
7. Reach for what makes you feel good—including some CBD!
First of all, hydration is never a bad thing. Sip on water before your presentation, and you'll probably feel energized, alive, and better overall.
And if you’re plagued with self-doubt, excessive worry, and irrational fears, CBD can help you chill out and regain your composure.
Many folks pop some delicious CBD gummies—free of THC and packed with fruity flavor—about 45-60 minutes before a high-pressure situation to take the edge off, keep their head on straight, and focus on what matters. And tinctures under the tongue work even faster—within about 15-30.
If you need help chilling the &^@# out—looming public speaking gig or during the daily grind—you can grab a subscription through us and save 20%.
Always be prepared. Get your head on straight. And knock ‘em dead!