Resource 15: Day-Of Prep: How to Overcome Stage Fright


Day-Of Prep: How to Overcome Stage Fright

Time Actions Benefit
First thing, or 3 hours before your speech.
  • Review your content and make any final changes.
  • Create an index card or small sheet of paper with a rough outline or talking points
Give yourself enough time to finalize the content -- the outline also helps you review the flow of your points and gain perspective about the overall content.
2 hours before your speech.
  • Do slow breathing exercises.
  • Warm up vocally and physically.
  • Practice out loud.
  • Walk around or sing.
Warm ups help you get in the zone and work to calm nerves and get your body in performance-ready mode.
1 hour before your speech.
  • Stop what you are doing. Don’t overrehearse.
  • Let it go: remind yourself, “it is what it is.”
Cramming increases nerves: instead, you need to get to a place of peace, where you give yourself some space from your preparation.
30 minutes beforehand.
  • Talk to people and converse with others around you.
Mindless chatter can take your mind off your presentation and put you in a more social place mentally. It is good to start speaking before you have to give your actual remarks.
15 minutes beforehand and while sitting in your seat, ready to give your speech.
  • Find a quiet place (an actual place or somewhere in your mind) and center yourself.
  • Tell yourself affirmations like “you got this” or “you’ve done this before” or “you have something important to say”.
  • Take breaths and exhale slowly: repeat until the shakiness disappears.
It is important to reaffirm your trust in yourself. Rather than thinking about your nerves or overthinking your speech, it is helpful to remind yourself that your voice is worthy.
Your name has been called and it’s time to go up to the front.
  • Turn it “on”. Mentally switch into performance mode.
  • Look at people as you walk up.
A performance mode helps you switch into a person who doesn’t feel fear. In this mode, you acknowledge the audience, instead of avoiding eye contact.
Moment before your speech.
  • Stand in a grounded position and acknowledge in audience.
Ground yourself when you get to the front. Don’t speak while walking, but wait until you and the audience are ready.
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