Here are some strategies that I employ to help make public speaking a more joyful and less nerve-wracking experience:

Prepare: The more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be. Do your homework on whatever the topic is that you’re speaking about.

Practice: Before you go into a performance situation make sure that you’ve practiced in front of actual people-- a friend or family member so the moment of performance isn’t the first time you’re speaking what you’ve prepared out loud.

Acknowledge: It’s absolutely okay and perfectly normal that you’re nervous. Instead of trying to deny the nervousness or push it away-- make friends with it, breathe into it. “What you resist persists,” so don’t resist! Be curious about your nervousness, what is it trying to say to you? Appreciate your fear, your fear thinks you are in danger and is trying to protect you.

Explore: Before your speech or presentation, if possible, visit the room you’ll be speaking in. If there’s a podium you’ll be speaking at spend some time behind the podium, touch the podium and see what it feels like. Touching the podium, desk or even your suit jacket (for example) can tactilely help ground you in the space.

Breathe: Before your presentation take some alone time, away from your colleagues-- it can even be in the bathroom if that’s the only solitary place you can find. Place one hand on your heart and other hand on your belly and simply connect with your breath. It can be helpful to close your eyes and visualize yourself giving a great talk. You may even want to give yourself a “pep talk.” I find the notes app on my iphone very handy for doing so. Breathe and connect to your inner wisdom and start a dialogue with yourself on any fears you may have.

Perspective: “They can’t take your house away.” Remember to keep things in perspective. Chances are this one speech, interview, performance etc. isn’t going to make or break your career. Try to take all public speaking opportunities as learning experiences, the more you do them, the better you’ll be. It’s so important for us as human beings to stretch ourselves and get out of our comfort zones. Public speaking is a great way to kick fear out of the drivers seat.

Author's Bio: 

Sarah Koestner is fascinated by how creativity and spirituality overlap. She spent many years as a professional actress and now facilitates others in getting touch with their creative selves, through spirituality, inner-work and the willingness to leap.