One of the keys to overcoming my fear of public speaking and controlling my stutter, was the ability to quickly relax. While I spent considerable time learning different relaxation techniques and deep breathing methods, ultimately it was the quick 15 to 30 second relaxes that I could call upon instantly, that became most valuable to me. As you are waiting to be introduced to the audience, as you face the interview panel, as you wait for that tricky question from the conference delegates; all of these scenarios are going to increase your anxiety levels slightly. You need to be able to quickly relax, and drop your anxiety almost instantly.
One of my favorite quick relaxes is “4 x 4 x 4 x 4 Deep Breathing”. Simply breath in for 4 seconds, hold it for 4 seconds, breath out for 4 seconds and repeat the 4 times. At the end of this you will notice an increased focus, calmness and slower breathing pace. Your breathing, lips and tongue should be more relaxed and ready to speak.
Another favorite quick relax of mine is called “Horse Blows”. It simply is what it sounds. Take a deep breath and blow out hard, vibrating your lips loosely and exaggeratedly, the same as a horse does. This exercise quickly relaxes the lips, tongue, cheeks and all the vocal apparatus, ready for speaking. The only difficulty with this exercise is that you should do it in private. I would not recommend that you take center stage, realize that you are a little anxious, and then start to do horse blows.
These are just two quick relaxes. Regardless of what methods you use, and they can include visualization, yoga, meditation, Jacobsen relaxation techniques; find one or two that you can quickly call upon and implement, just to reduce those pre speaking nerves a little.