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Getting over the Fear of Public Speaking

Updated on June 8, 2011

So many people

So many of us can find it quite easy to talk to a small group of friends but when faced with the idea of speaking in front of a large group fear and even panic is often our reaction. The idea of trying to write a speech and trying to deliver it in front of that group is something that most would rather trade for a walk on hot coals or a visit to the dentist without freezing.

So the answer to resolving this issue lies within the opening paragraph here. First of all, it is nearly impossible to actually speak directly to everyone in the audience so try this approach. Pick two or three friendly looking people in the first couple of rows and deliver your message to them. By using more than one “friend” in the audience it won’t look like you are frozen on just one person.

The other mistake that so many people make is to actually write a speech that is scripted and forces their eyes down to the actual script instead of at the audience. Politicians and lawyers use speeches to carefully pick words that will not offend. In fact, they actually try very hard to say nothing of importance so they can’t get caught into something that will force an actual commitment to any subject.  So maybe a scripted speech isn’t the best choice.

When you talk to a group of friends, you don’t use a script and you don’t stand behind a podium. So try moving around and talk about points that are part of your overall subject matter. You can work on an opening that sets the tone and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have humour and a lighter approach, just like the way you talk to your friends. The podium is there because microphones always had cords that were always too short and most people do not know how to use a microphone effectively. Do not blow into the microphone or tap it to see if it is working. Just say hello and ask your “friends” if they can hear you out there. When is the last time you saw an entertainer perform for the audience from behind a podium? Some of the most effective public speakers are actually better known as stand-up comedians.

Scripting might ensure that you cover all the areas you want to in making your presentation but it can also become quite dry and put your audience to sleep. Talk about what you know and not what you just researched about the subject. The audience is interested in your opinion and not about what you read from some expert. As far as they are concerned, you must be the “expert” on the subject since they are all gathered here to listen to what you have to say about it. Make it worth their time to have sat there through you presentation and do your best to entertain them just like you would with a small group of friends.


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