In addition to heights, spiders, and enclosed spaces, you may be surprised to find this fear on the list of most common fears and phobias. Yup, we’re talking about public speaking, a.k.a. glossophobia.

But while you can do your best to avoid flying or tight spaces, it’s pretty hard to avoid public speaking. Whether in a classroom or a boardroom, being able to talk in front of a crowd is an important skill to have. And like any skill, it can be learned! Whether you have a presentation coming up that you’re preparing for or you just want to become a better public speaker in general, we’ve got a few tips from experts below.

Accept that you’ll never be perfect.

It’s important to remember that the goal is to improve your public speaking abilities, not perfect them. Afterall, even the best, most confident speakers in the world mess up!

Know that it’s normal to be nervous.

Believe it or not, nerves are a good thing. Being a little (and we mean, a little) nervous can help boost your energy and enthusiasm. In other words, don’t psych yourself out right before you get on stage by thinking that your nerves are a terrible thing.

Don’t memorize your presentation.

Odds are, you’ll never be able to memorize an entire presentation word-for-word. Instead, memorize the main points of your speech and then elaborate on them. Remember, if you’re giving a presentation on something, you’re probably well-versed on the subject, so trust your own knowledge and don’t focus on having everything so planned.

Use a visual aid.

Not only do graphs and charts improve your presentation by giving the audience something visual to look at, but they can help you to know what your main talking points are. If you’re afraid of forgetting your points, make each major speaking topic its own slide. If you forget your next topic, your slide will remind you of it!

Get a good night’s sleep.

Especially when you’re nervous, it can be hard to get a quality night’s sleep, but being well rested for a presentation is critical. Instead of staying up all night trying to memorize your speech (which as we mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t be doing!) head to bed a few minutes earlier than you normally do.

Looking for advice like this, as well as much, much more? Debra Solomon is a professional life coach for adults on the autism spectrum. To inquire about details, including fees and scheduling, please contact Debra Solomon at [email protected] or at 516-510-7637. Or complete a brief form so we may contact you.