Fear of Speaking

Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking

No one has a fear of public speaking!  What we are afraid of is making a fool of ourselves while trying to speak in public.

One of the upsides of being a professional speaker is that I get to attend hundreds of meetings every year and listen to literally thousands of speeches. The downside is that most of them are boring.

I have never quite understood this. Surely people know when they are not good at speaking. The clue is in the number of audience members who are falling asleep or leaving during the presentation.

The reason people are boring I believe is that they are scared to do anything exciting in case they make a fool of themselves, and that is the primary reason for fear of public speaking.

Fear is a strange topic because mostly we are not afraid of the thing we think we are afraid of. And when it comes to Public Speaking, at the heart of our fears is shame, ridicule or embarrassment.

The alarming thing is that in order to overcome fear, we have to embrace it.  We have to make ourselves vulnerable by taking the risk of making a fool of ourselves. But that is not as bad as it sounds.  Having coached hundreds of people over the past 30 years, including professional speakers and senior executives, I have discovered that there are just four simple principles we need to follow to over come our fears.

Four rules to overcome Fear of Speaking in Public and avoid making a fool of yourself

1. Speak from Experience
2. Tell Stories
3. Provide  a Clear Purpose and Structure
4. Be Passionate about Your Topic

1. Speak from Experience

Speak on a topic about which you have earned the right to speak. If you speak about something you know well, if you speak on a topic about which you are an expert, then you are going to feel far more confident, and more importantly, you don’t have the problem of trying to remember the speech because you already know the content inside out. And of course you are already an expert on the subject of your life which is the source of your primary content.

2. Tell Stories

Develop stories about your experiences in life and in work. Start getting into the habit of telling stories to friends and colleagues socially or at work. Stories are easy for us to remember as speakers and easy for the audience to remember and as you become more practiced in the art of storytelling, you will naturally become more entertaining

3. Provide Clear Purpose and Structure

When you start writing your speech, begin with a clear and definite purpose. Why are you delivering this speech? What exactly do you want to achieve with it? What are the audience expecting from it? Write out your One main message – your purpose – and then support that with three key points to illustrate the purpose with interesting facts and stories and you have a winning speech. That makes it easy for you to remember and easy for the audience to recall. They will thank you for your clarity and you will overcome your fear because won’t make a fool of yourself.

4. Be Passionate about Your Topic

Get excited and passionate about what you speak about. People spend so much time trying to memorise a speech and then perform it, when really all that is needed is to get passionate. The more excited you are the better your animation, the better your gestures and body language and the more engaged your audience will become.  Remember also that if you are passionate about your topic, you will also naturally be included to be more controversial and that will attract comment and engagment.

Put all these four elements together and you are sure to have a compelling speech.


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  1. It is very likely that I fear of being laughed at or have to go the ordeal of a year long misery from your speech that has gone wrong..and that is me…that is why I prefer to listen and analyze..but thanks for sharing this one…

  2. Once you are a subject matter expert and have a clear understanding of what going on with it, you can very well speak without hesitation and with confidence you might start slow but once you got it.it free wheeling all the way…thanks for the post

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