9 Steps to Help You Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking (Infographic) Panicking isn't an option. Preparation is.

By Kim Lachance Shandrow

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Sweaty palms. Thudding heart. Dry throat. Doubts race: What if I blow it? What if I forget the words? What if they hate me? You're about to speak before a live audience and stage fright has taken hold.

If you know the feeling, you're far from alone. Public speaking ranks as America's top fear and for good reason. For many of us, it's absolutely terrifying. Petrified or not, if you must orate before onlookers for work or for some other make-it-or-break-it reason, you have no choice but to face your fear. Panicking isn't an option. Preparation is.

Fear not. The fix is relatively simple. To slay your public speaking dragons, simply prepare for your speech -- then prepare again and again. And then a few more times for good measure. From practicing your speech in front of someone you trust, to power posing like Frank Underwood on "House of Cards" (no, seriously), there are thankfully lots of things you can do to take the fright out of stepping on stage.

Related: Richard Branson on How to Calm Public Speaking Jitters

Start by taking these nine courage-building steps from the pros, the seasoned speechmakers of the London Speaker Bureau. Their words to the wise are neatly packed into the helpful infographic below. Good luck and go get "em, tiger.

Click to Enlarge

Becoming a Public Speaker (Infographic)

Related: 3 Tips for Getting Speaking Gigs

Kim Lachance Shandrow

Former West Coast Editor

Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here

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