How to Become a Confident Public Speaker Nearly three quarters of Americans cope with fear of speaking in public, but there are proven ways of turning yourself into a pro.

By Morissa Schwartz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, affects nearly 73% of the U.S. population, according to The National Institute of Mental Health. Classified as a social anxiety disorder, it's characterized by an "underlying fear [of] judgment or negative evaluation by others," and its effects range from simple bouts of anxiety to paralyzing panic attacks. But there are practical and effective steps, proven by industry leaders, that can help address and overcome it.

Invest in yourself

Life gets hectic. When you have multiple priorities to tend to, including family, clients, work and everything else that life throws at you, making time for ourselves and our passions can get pushed to the wayside. It's nothing less than vital, however, to set aside time and money to spend on your professional development, no matter what you want to do with your life. For example, executives can spend up to $50,000 on a public speaking course. That is a large sum, but most don't regret it for a minute because it's an investment in themselves, their career and their passions. (And excellent public speaking courses start at around $2,000, so they don't have to break the bank.) Make your development a priority so you, too, can become self-assured in your expertise and the way you present it.

Related: 3 Secrets to Keep Your Audiences Happy (That They Won't Tell You!)

Be authentic

The number-one rule for being a confident public speaker is to be yourself. People will be less likely to connect with you if you create a fake persona, and you simply won't feel as confident trying to be someone you're not. An audience will sense and respond to authenticity and the way you tap into true passion.

Recently knighted, Didi Wong (aka Lady Didi) — CEO of The Yes Academy, keynote speaker, TV producer and business mentor, among other vocations — is a perfect example of a speaker who presents authentically and confidently. She and many other experts are outspoken in their belief that doubt kills more dreams than failure — that you have to believe in yourself, first and foremost, before an audience ever will.

Remember the little things

It is crucial to be mindful of how you represent yourself on stage. Be aware of your body language, tone and point of view. Facts are great to have, but if there is no feeling or passion behind them, they'll fall flat when connecting with an audience.

Also, try to pair impactful images with messages to create an unexpected brand of connection, and consider applying this strategy further by inserting personal stories and commentary into the presentation. Be confident in your experience and let your passion seep into your voice. You can further build that confidence by dressing up in a favorite outfit or wearing bold lipstick. Feel confident in your look and you will feel confident in your speech.

Related: How to Manage Stress and Anxiety as an Entrepreneur

Make meaningful connections

When it comes to public speaking, underlying anxiety often comes from the fear of being rejected, but if you can create meaningful relationships with others, you will become more optimistic about your speaking abilities. Mentors can help in this area; they are an excellent source for learning the ins and outs of an industry and for vetting ideas. So, find and connect with people who will bolster your career and help you become a stronger spokesperson for your brand or company, and the result will be self-confidence.

Just do it!

Sometimes the best way to get over fear is simply to face it. The more you practice public speaking, the less you will feel anxious and the more capable you will become. Everyone starts somewhere: begin practicing by yourself, then work your way to speaking in front of a small group, then a larger one, and so on.

Practice, practice, practice

It's no secret that repetition is instrumental to perfection. This is particularly true when it comes to public speaking. I've also found that visualization is one of the most effective ways to overcome associated anxiety. Imagine yourself succeeding: To your brain, this is essentially the same as doing it. Imagine responding well to setbacks and you will be more likely to handle them with ease.

Also, rehearse in front of people with whom you already feel comfortable, then ask for honest feedback on how you can improve. Consider, too, adding noise in the background to distract you while practicing, as well as throwing in other minor obstacles to help you prepare for what might go wrong. Doing this is another way to build confidence in the ability to handle adversity. And don't worry if you forget a line or two. Carry on, and remember that an audience has no idea what the actual script says.

Related: This Simple But Effective 'Positivity Challenge' Will Completely Change Your Mindset

Wavy Line
Morissa Schwartz

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Owner of Dr. Rissy's Writing & Marketing

Dr. Morissa Schwartz is the proud owner of top-ranked marketing company Dr. Rissy's Writing & Marketing. She was named one of "Forbes 30 Under 30" honorees in media. She also owns GenZ Publishing, a book-publishing company, which has produced 15 Amazon bestsellers.

Editor's Pick

A Father Decided to Change When He Was in Prison on His Son's Birthday. Now His Nonprofit Helps Formerly Incarcerated Applicants Land 6-Figure Jobs.
A Teen Turned His Roblox Side Hustle Into a Multimillion-Dollar Company — Now He's Working With Karlie Kloss and Elton John
3 Mundane Tasks You Should Automate to Save Your Brain for the Big Stuff
The Next Time Someone Intimidates You, Here's What You Should Do
5 Ways to Manage Your Mental Health and Regulate Your Nervous System for Sustainable Success

Related Topics

Business News

'Do You Hate Me?': High School Teacher Shares Wild Emails He Receives From Students

Jordan Baechler teaches high school students in Ontario, Canada.

Business News

Hedge Fund Pays NYC Interns $20,000 a Month on Average, Sent to Lavish Palm Beach Kickoff

Citadel is known for its over-the-top parties and company retreats.

Data & Recovery

This Father's Day, Give the Gift of No More Low Storage Warnings

Save 85% on 1TB of cloud storage for Father's Day.

Starting a Business

Starting a New Business? Here's How to Leverage Transferable Skills From Your Prior Careers and Drive Success

Launching your own business can be daunting, but when you harness the skills from past jobs, there are a variety of things you must ask yourself. Here are three recipes for success using your prior experiences.