Conquering Your Fear Of Public Speaking

To fight our fears, we must first face them
To fight our fears, we must first face them
Image Credit: João Trindade Follow

If you want to really know what fear is, then agree to give a speech! For some reason, the thought of standing in front of a group of people that we probably don’t know and sharing with them some information that we have can cause even the most courageous of us to feel weak in the knees despite the importance of public speaking. However, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be like this. There are things that we can do that will boost our courage so that the next time that we stand in front of an audience all they will be able to see will be our eagerness to speak to them.

Know Where You’ll Be Speaking

I personally believe that a lot of the reason that we can become so nervous about giving a speech is because there are a lot of different things all going on at the same time. One of the biggest unknowns that we’ll be facing is the location that we’ll be speaking at. We may have never been there before and so when we show up on the day of the speech, it’s all going to be new to us.

This newness just compounds the anxiety that we are already feeling because of the fact that we’re going to be addressing people that we may not know. There’s not too much that we can do about getting over our “new place” jitters. However, if you can visit the site before the big day, that can go a long way towards turning an unknown into a known. If this is not possible, then perhaps you can either find some pictures of the location or have someone go there and snap a few photos with their mobile phone. This will simply give you a chance to become familiar with what the stage looks like. That way when you finally see it, it won’t be for the first time.


Will the speech that you give be a success or a failure? It can go either way, but you have a great deal of control over how it all turns out. If you assume that your speech is going to be a success, then you will have started to establish a mindset that can lead to success. You really can’t do a good job if you don’t first believe that you can do a good job.

One great way to boost your chances of giving a successful speech is to take the time to mentally visualize yourself giving the speech. Watch from the audience as you take the stage, start your speech, finish your speech, and then leave the stage. By doing this you will be able to create a positive effect on your ability to deliver a great speech.

Make Friends

I think that we can all agree that standing in front of a room of strangers and trying to give a speech can be nerve wracking. You feel all of those eyes on you and since you don’t know them, you have no idea what might be running through their heads. We try to maintain eye contact with our audience, but no matter where you look you just see strangers.

There actually is a fairly simple way to deal with this problem. Show up early before your speech starts. Use this time to mix and mingle with the people who will be in your audience. Find out some names, some backgrounds, and why they have decided to be here today. This way when you start your speech and you look out into the audience, they will no longer be a room full of strangers. Instead, you’ll see faces that you recognize and you’ll realize that they are smiling because they feel that they already know you.

What All Of This Means For You

Fear is a part of everyone’s life. We need to understand this and learn to live with it. However, the fear of public speaking, although real, is something that we can deal with. If we take the right steps, then we can find ways to conquer our fears of speaking and allow ourselves to focus on delivering the best speech that we can and sharing the benefits of public speaking.

Getting over your fear of public speaking starts with knowing where you will be speaking. Showing up to give a speech at a strange location can be overwhelming. Instead, visit the site before your speech or at least get pictures of it in order to make the new more familiar. In order to make your next speech a success, take some time to visualize yourself doing a good job of delivering your speech. Simply by seeing this in your mind, you’ll be able to translate it into an excellent performance. Finally, because speaking to a room of complete strangers can be so intimidating, show up early and meet some of the people who will be in your audience. That way when you are giving your speech you’ll be able to pick their faces out of the crowd and it won’t be a room full of strangers that you’ll be addressing.

The good thing about your fear of public speaking is that it is something that you can deal with. By taking the steps that we’ve described, you can transform your fears into simple excitement about your next speech. No, being nervous about giving your next speech will never go away, but you can push it to the background an focus on what’s really important – giving a great speech!

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

Question For You: If you can’t visit or get pictures of where you’ll be speaking, is there anything else that you can do to become familiar with the location?

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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!

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