Toastmasters International - Edmonton & Area

Information about public speaking, confidence in speaking and effective communication

Overcoming Nervousness

How to Make Your Butterflies Fly in Formation

Nervousness, speech anxiety, stage fright, platform panic - it's known by many names, but it's a problem every speaker must confront. Actually, feeling nervous before a speech is healthy. It shows that your speech is important to you and that you care about doing well. But unless you can manage and control your nervousness, it can keep you from becoming an effective speaker.

Here's how you can make your "butterflies" fly in formation:

  1. Recognize you're not alone.  
  2. Realize that people want you to succeed.  
  3. Speak about what you know
    Select speech topics that are within the realm of your knowledge and experience. This will build your confidence and make you less nervous.  
  4. Prepare thoroughly
    If you are well prepared and have rehearsed your speech you will have more confidence and less anxiety.  
  5. Concentrate on the message - not the medium
    Focus your energy and attention on your message and your audience and away from your nervousness  
  6. Turn nervousness into positive energy
    The same nervous energy that causes platform panic can be an asset to you. Harness it, and transform it into vitality and enthusiasm.  
  7. Gain experience
    Experience builds confidence -- your anxieties decrease the more presentations you give.

Adapted from Toastmasters International Communication and Leadership Program manual.