How can I become more comfortable when I have to speak before strangers?

Expert Answers
ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have three strategies that I use to reduce nervousness when speaking in front of an audience. 1)I do not memorize what I want to say word for word. I memorize the ideas that I want to talk about. This prevents freezing up if I get off track and can’t remember what comes next because I memorized word for word. I simply think of what the big idea is and proceed from there. It also makes my presentation sound more natural because I’m probably not going to be using big words simply because they sound good. 2)Practice, practice, practicein the shower, on the lawnmower, while driving to and from school or work. Practice in the mirror. As you are lying in bed trying to fall asleep practice. This helps you learn the material and get comfortable with it. 3)Finally, when you are in front of the audience and you need to make eye contact, but you just can’t, focus slightly to the left or right of the person’s eyes. This gives them the sense that you are making eye contact without the actual stress of doing it.