Whether you鈥檙e giving a toast at your BFF鈥檚 wedding or prepping for a mega important creative presentation at your day job, having a bad case of stage fright can rattle聽even the most prepared public speaker. Since we usually can鈥檛 avoid speaking in public, we thought we would ask the experts how they鈥檝e conquered stage fright and learned to slay all their big聽speeches. Read on for five tips that鈥檒l help聽you exude confidence in front of a crowd.

woman office Presenting to Coworkers

1. Breathe like a ballerina. As a former professional dancer and now CEO of The Hivery, Grace Kraaijvanger knows the pressure of performing on stage. Her trick to staying zen? Use stage techniques to calm your nerves. 鈥淏efore your presentation, take deep breaths from your lower abdomen and imagine them calmly and deliberately enveloping your back,鈥 she advises.

2. Practice, practice, practice. Now the president at Spaeth Communications, Merrie Spaeth once worked as the director of media in the White House under President Reagan. Now when clients call her and say they鈥檙e too busy to rehearse their presentations, she quickly replies, 鈥淚f the President can find time, surely you can too.鈥 So true.

3. Use props to help calm your nerves. 鈥淚f you鈥檙e giving a wedding toast and your friend had texted you that they knew the bride or groom聽was the one, pull your phone out and read the text,鈥 advises communications trainer at Spaeth Communications Laura Barnett. 鈥淗aving something to hold gives you something to do with your hands (remember Ricky Bobby鈥檚 interview in Talladega Nights?), which can help alleviate nerves.鈥 It also adds聽a loving or funny direct quote from the the bride or groom to the speech, which usually goes over well with the crowd.

Wedding-Toast

4. Start with a thank you. The first 30 seconds of your presentation are the hardest, so it鈥檚 important to have a strong introduction that鈥檒l make you feel secure. 鈥淏y praising the previous speaker, the place holding the presentation, or anyone else involved with the event, a speaker can drum up quick applause that warms up the crowd and helps break the ice of the presentation,鈥 counsels Sacha Ferrandi, founder of Source Capital Funding.

5. Ask your audience questions. Let鈥檚 be honest: Your natural inclination will probably be to keep your head down and avoid the audience as much as possible. 鈥淏ut slowing down, asking the audience questions, and getting them involved will actually make you feel more comfortable,鈥 advises founder and CEO of Elle Communications聽Danielle Gano. If you鈥檙e nervous, give it a try during a practice sesh with your besties first, and then see if you can translate it into your actual presentation.

How do you deal with your fear of public speaking? Tweet us by mentioning @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)