Public speaking continues to be a monumental hurdle on the path to becoming an influential leader. To some, the fear of voicing their thoughts in front of a wide audience is equivalent to jumping off a bridge; no matter how much you talk and tease, the fear won’t subside. Though it’s not possible control emotions with a flip of a switch, here are three tips to help calm stage nerves when public speaking.

ACE: Acronyms Create Efficiency
The age old saying is that “practice makes perfect”. However, if you’ve taken classes on public speaking, you know that speech delivery is not a one-size-fits-all approach. One of the elements to an effective speech is connectivity. Many influencers emphasize that it is crucial to read your audience and their reactions to what you are saying. Having your speech memorized word for word could equally lead to success or failure. Instead, opt for acronyms. Tweeze out select words and phrases that carry significant weight in the meaning of what you are trying to coach your audience on. Condense these down into phrases or acronyms to guide your thoughts. Practice giving your speech to friends with just these handful of bullet points and see how much you can recall. The more you review your material and the more confident you feel in the core information, the easier your speech will flow.

Make Eye Contact With The Audience
As you are giving your speech, try to connect with the audience visually too. By focusing on one individual at a time, you are less likely to be noticing the grandness of the crowd and can focus on individuals. Switch it up constantly and make your way across the crowd. The audience will feel like you are there for them and that you are passionate in what you are saying.

You Are What You Eat, And What You Think
Don’t let pre-stage jitters steer you away from food. During your day of prep, be cautious to fill your minds with thoughts of optimism and faith. Spending all day anticipating how poorly your delivery will go or what you are afraid you are going to forget will get you farther from the things that you should be thinking about. Negativity leading up to the event will fog your mind. Spend the day nourishing your body to avoid faintness and dehydration while speaking. Practice and reflect on why your speech will be beneficial or helpful to the audience.

While you can control how your interpret the act of public speaking, you will never be able to control how people in the crowd will react towards what you have to bring to the table. Making your speech one that people, relate to, remember, or reflect on are key. No one attends a public speaking event for perfection and monotone expressions – that’s what podcasts and old tapes are for. Believe in yourself and bring the excitement that you want your audience to have when you take the stage.