How To Break The Grip Of The Fear Of Public Speaking

Our fear of speaking in public can be overcome
Our fear of speaking in public can be overcome
Image Credit: Jody Sticca

Let’s face it, there are an awful lot of things that we’d all rather be doing than standing up in front of a group of people trying to give a speech. Just thinking about the importance of public speaking and doing this can cause our mouths to go dry, our hand to become clammy, and our knees to start to buckle. None of this is good news when we find ourselves called on to give a speech. However, there is some good news here. This fear of public speaking thing can be overcome and I’m going to tell you how to do it.

Start Small

This fear of speaking thing has a lot to do with the audience that you’ll be addressing. If your boss and his or her boss are sitting out there then you’ve got a good reason to be nervous. That’s probably not the first speech that you’ll want to be giving. Instead, what you are going to want to do is to craft a plan to deal with your fear of public speaking.

Part of this plan has to deal with when and where you’ll be giving speeches. What you are going to want to do is to start out small. This means give speeches that are not really all that important and you’ll want to deliver them to smaller audiences. Yes, you’ll still feel that creep of public speaking fear, but the good news is that you should be able to control it better because you’ve made the stakes smaller.

Add To Your Speech Progressively

I’m pretty sure that we’d all like to be able to write one of those “I’ve got a dream” speeches right off the bat. However, let’s face it – it’s not going to happen. Instead, what we need to understand about the speeches that we write is that we can write a good speech, it’s just that it’s going to take us some time to get things right.

A great way to go about writing a good speech is to build it progressively. What this means is the first thing that you do is you lay out the most important points that you want to make to your audience. Keep it simple and keep it brief. Now you’ll discover that you need more speech to fill your time. Start to add examples, stories, analogies, etc. Before long you’ll have a complete speech that has your most important points at its core.

Make It Important

We often find ourselves giving speeches that we may not really care all that much about. The reason that we are willing to stand in front of a group of people and deliver this speech is because we are either helping somebody that we know out or we somehow got forced into giving the speech No matter, our heart is not really in this topic. The problem with this is that your audience will pick up on this, become restless, and that’s going to boost your fear as you deliver the speech.

When you find yourself in a situation like this, you need to take action. What you are going to have to do is to take a long hard look at the speech that you will be giving. You need to find some part of this speech that you really do care about. You might be talking about a 12-step process and only one of the steps really matters to you. That’s fine. What you need to do is to create your speech around the part(s) that matter to you. When you do this, the fact that you care about what you’re talking about will come across to your audience. This will cause them to sit up and listen to you and that will help to reduce your fear of public speaking.

What All Of This Means For You

Speaking in public is scary stuff. Nobody ever seems to really look forward to doing it and if we’re not careful we can start to feel physical effects from just thinking about doing it despite all of the benefits of public speaking. The good news is that all of our fears about public speaking can be overcome.

In order to start to master our fears of public speaking, we need to understand that we can start small. This means that our first few speeches should be given to small audiences and we should be talking about topics that are not all that important. This will provide us with an opportunity to build up some courage for the bigger speeches that will come later on. Writing a good speech can be difficult and good speeches generally don’t just flow out of us. What we need to do is to start out with an outline of what we really want to say and then add on to it. If you give a speech about something that you really don’t care about, your audience will be able to detect this and will grow restless. This is going to make you even more nervous. Find something that you care about in what you’ll be talking about and focus on that.

There are some people who say that if we weren’t nervous when we are speaking, then we wouldn’t be alive. The good news is that I believe that we can all confirm that we are very much alive! The nerves that we feel when we are speaking are very normal and the good news is that with a bit of practice they can be overcome.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: What should you do if there is nothing in a speech that you’ll be giving that you really care about?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Apprehension is a big word that we use when we are trying to communicate the fact that we are scared to do something. Public speaking is not something that comes naturally to most of us and so to say that we feel some level of apprehension when it comes time to stand in front of a group of strangers and deliver a speech is putting it rather lightly. We’d all like to find some magic way to make this feeling go away so that we could focus on delivering the best speech possible because we understand the importance of public speaking. However, we just don’t know how to make that happen. Perhaps what we really should be looking for is a way to get our apprehension under control.

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