Public speaking anxiety: Get the ‘leg up’ on nerves

faux fur coat

Sweaty palms, shaky knees, a slight tremble in your voice… Sound familiar? Want to get a leg up on your nerves? Public speaking anxiety is common and natural. In fact, even TV journalists and performers experience it. The first time I ever reported live, I felt like I was on a roller coaster. My heart was racing. What if I lose my train of thought? What if I stumble over my words? It’s live television, there are no do-overs!

Now mind you, this wasn’t a high stakes report… It just felt that way to me. I was doing a live interview at Oktoberfest with the president of Leinenkugel’s Beer, who just happened to be wearing lederhosen! He had done the same interview dozens of times. All I had to do was set the scene for the festival and provide a bit of local color. Everything went fine.

It didn’t turn into a YouTube moment… but looking back, it was a teachable one.

The first step in conquering public speaking anxiety, is realizing that having it doesn’t make you weird or a failure. In fact, we all experience this to some degree. For some people it’s crippling, for others it might just be a slight “edgy” feeling. Once you understand your tendencies, you can prepare for them and develop strategies to improve your performance.

The following tricks are methods I swear by! After all, they carried me from nearly losing my lederhosen (and my lunch), to the anchor chair. Whether you are looking to speak more confidently/comfortably in front of a crowd, want to nail an unscripted live shot, or need to make a pitch like a #bossbabe, these tips will give you a jump start!

Faux Fur Embellished Coat | Yellow Bag (similar) | Petite Stretch Ankle Pant (my all-time favorite basic!)

Style note: If you are looking for a statement jacket and perfect layering piece, this faux fur number from Chicwish looks great with everything! It provides such a luxurious, elegant look for a modest price. More fashion info at the end of this post. 

Conquer public speaking anxiety: Tip #1

  • Give yourself perspective: We all have the tendency to blow things out of proportion. We put the weight of the world on our shoulders and let our presentations, newscasts or speeches feels like giant issues. But are they? When I feel nerves creep up about something, I like to take a deep breath and step back a bit. I remind myself, this newscast might be important to me, but the people who are watching it are also doing other things at the same time. They’re not glued to their screens, waiting for me to screw up, so they can laugh at me. In other industries, this perspective may come from remembering that your audience is human. They woke up and had breakfast just like you. They are not expecting a super hero.

Conquer public speaking anxiety: Tip #2

  • Don’t fear pauses: Silence can be uncomfortable, but when speaking in public, it is an extremely valuable tool. Fight the urge to fill pauses with an “um”, “ahh”, “like” or some other verbalization. Trust me, it’s okay to take a breath and gather your thoughts. In fact, pauses actually help pull your audience in and add to the dramatic effect. Keep in mind, moments of silence alway feels longer to the speaker than his/her audience.

conquer public speaking anxiety

Conquer Public Speaking Anxiety: Tip #3

  • Set a confident tone with your body language: First, plant your feet and stand up straight. So many people will sway back and forth without realizing it. Strong posture conveys authority, even if you don’t feel authoritative. I discuss posture in more detail in this post. Talking with your hands is fine or walking to “work” the room, but swaying makes you appear nervous and uncomfortable. Also, don’t feel you need to lock eyes with your audience the entire time. Looking down or to the side for a split second will help you avoid the dreaded “deer in the headlights” appearance. You will appear more natural in your speech and demeanor.


Conquer public speaking anxiety: Tip #4

  • Rehearse until it’s right: While you don’t want to memorize or sound overly scripted, practicing in front of a mirror or a friend will work wonders for your confidence. It will give you a sense of pacing and flow, helping you meet time constraints and grow more precise with your wording. Using a powerpoint or technology? A dry run is a must to work out any bugs or kinks! I am also a huge proponent of having hard copy notes to fall back on in case of emergency.

confidence tips faux fur

Conquer public speaking anxiety: Tip #5

  • Keep it lighthearted: If something goes awry, make a joke. In fact, it is advantageous to intentionally work something humorous into your presentation. This lightens the mood and helps you connect with your audience. It’s hard to watch people who take themselves too seriously! Remember, you want to make your audience comfortable too. Try to inject your personality as much as possible. I spent way too many years of my career trying to be what I thought (and what consultants told me) a good news anchor looked like, sounded like, etc. When I let go of that and allowed the “real me” to enter the equation, everything seemed to click. Be you, just be the best version of you!

Now, to the fashion… Let’s revel in faux fur fabulosity for a minute!

 

You might be groaning right now, hearing me talk about coats and faux fur. I love spring fashion as much as the next girl. However, this is actually a great time to stock up on these type of pieces. Spring styles begin hitting stores in February, leaving retailers eager to clear out their winter stock to free up space. This means great deals for you! Many of the staples in my closet are upwards of 50 percent off right now. See below!

Don’t feel like buying a coat right now? I totally get that. However, if you’re frugal and live in the Midwest, you likely have at least one more solid month of jacket weather. After that, you’ll probably still need layers for cooler nights and days. Allow me to present a perfect solution… Looks like a cardigan, warms like a coat. This embellished faux fur jacket  from Chicwish is both edgy and classic for $67. Chicwish is a Hong Kong-based company that specializes in indie/retro fashions, and one of my favorites because its pieces are so unique and well-cut for petite frames. This particular coat appealed to me because it is not an all-over fur number. It is distinctive, but not over-the-top. Very wearable and office-appropriate!

Sizing info: I ordered the size S, based upon reviews, which said it runs small. I actually disagree, and wish I would have sized down. This runs TTS or slightly large (particularly in the arm and shoulder area). That said, it is stunning! High quality construction and materials. 

While we’re on the topic of coats, my other two favorites are 50 percent off right now! Don’t you love buying off season? The deals are insane! Look #1: Waterfall hem/shawl collar coat (originally $148, now $73.90) Waterfall hem/shawl collar coat (originally $148, now $73.90) 

Assymetrical Belted Wool Coat (originally $275, now $139.99)

 

6 COMMENTS

  1. Alejandro | 27th Feb 19

    Hi! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick
    shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading through your articles.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics?

    Thank you so much!

    • laveremis | 28th Feb 19

      Hi Alejandro, Hmmm good question. A lot of the blogs I follow are fashion related, however I can recommend EmmasEdition.com (She discusses blogging, confidence and content creation) in addition https://shejustglows.com/life-tv-news/ is another blog written by a former news anchor. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Douglas Bratley | 28th Feb 19

    Great article on public speaking, Lindsay !!

    • laveremis | 28th Feb 19

      Thanks for taking the time to read Douglas! I hope it’s helpful.

  3. Diaryofayummymommy | 1st Mar 19

    These are very helpful tips. I have always been uncomfortable with public speaking to the point that even doing IG stories with me speaking in it use to scare me. I’ve been working on it and I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind. Thank you.

    • laveremis | 1st Mar 19

      I’m very glad I can help! I understand the struggles. At one point, I was so shy, I was afraid to call and order a pizza. It’s all about practice and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Blogging and IG stories are a GREAT first step. Kudos to you for taking this step!

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