How to Psych Yourself Up to Give a Speech

Two Parts:In the time leading up to the speechJust prior to giving the speech

It's one thing to prepare for a speech ahead of time, but it's quite another to bring yourself into readiness just before heading onto center stage and uttering those first words. In order To move the anxiety down a notch and to restore a measure of confidence, there are things you can do in advance and also just before you move into position to give the speech.

Part 1
In the time leading up to the speech

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    Prepare the speech well in advance. Having the speech written and placed onto note cards or in whatever other format works for you provides a huge confidence boost that lets you relax, knowing that the content aspect has been taken care of.
    • Write your speech points on cue cards, or at least have a paper that has your speech written on it.
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    Rehearse the speech. If you're new to presenting speeches, nothing beats rehearsal beforehand. This gives your the opportunity to test your speaking style, to play around with intonation and to watch your stance and posture in the mirror. You could record yourself on video and see what your demeanor looks like when played back. Make the most of rehearsal time to adjust the rough edges and to give you a confidence boost.
    • It's not recommended that you over-rehearse though; a little spontaneity helps the speech to sound more authentic, coming from your heart. Rehearse mainly for the sake of experience at speaking and getting your posture and movements accurate.
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    Get a good night's sleep and a proper breakfast before the speaking event. This will ensure that you're well rested and can think straight when standing in front of the audience.

Part 2
Just prior to giving the speech

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    Find a place where you can go into the zone. It can be hard to cope if people are around you as you wait to give the speech. At some point, this cannot be avoided. However, try to find a spot where you can take yourself to self calm and avoid distractions for at least a few minutes prior to giving the speech. This could be a quiet corner, a separate room or even a stall in the bathroom. Use this time to breathe deeply, remind yourself that you're well prepared or know the subject matter well and to bolster your confidence.
    • Be aware that distractions can cause you to focus on things that are not related to your speech.
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    Focus on your breathing. Breathe deeply and notice your breathing pattern consciously. If you catch yourself breathing quickly or in a shallow way, deliberately make a choice to breathe more slowly and deeply, as this will help to calm you down.
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    Remind yourself that you know your subject-matter and speech material before going out in front of the audience. It is easy to blank when panicking or feeling anxious, and this can increase the worry. You were asked to give this speech for a reason, be it for learning, for teaching, for sharing information––so focus on the opportunity it is presenting you as much as for the audience.


  • Practice speaking slowly and clearly. Rushing is a surefire way of causing the audience to switch off, as they'll not be able to follow the speech.
  • In time, with practice, you'll find it easier to cope ahead of giving the speech. Some speakers may find they don't need the quiet moments of contemplation but if you do, don't worry about it. It's perfectly normal and desirable to take a few minutes to compose yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Speech
  • Cue cards
  • Mirror for rehearsal
  • Quiet space ahead of giving the speech

Article Info

Categories: Public Speaking