Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking


There are many strategies to deal with public speaking anxiety. Here at Speak-Train we are developing a 27-part video series on that topic. Why? Because research has shown that ‘fear of public speaking’ is the number one ‘fear’ or ‘phobia’ (in America).  In this article we give you one great way to deal with fear of public speaking. Based on the hundreds of requests that we are getting at Speak-Train.com for solutions to this issue – we believe that the researchers are right. Every month we get hundreds of questions related to public speaking fear. [amprotect=2,3,4]

This strategy is a simple one: Make your workshop or speech “interactive”.   By that I mean…give a speech with a little help from your friends.

Last year, one of our conference planners booked a speaker for a conference. The speaker was a well-known newscaster.  Although she was on TV every night, she had a fear of public speaking! She had that dreaded fear of “what if they don’t like me” or “what if I run out of things to say”?

There were about 300 people in the audience, and she was supposed to talk for 20 minutes. But she wasn’t sure if she could last that long without the teleprompter that she had become accustomed to while on hosting the local TV news.

Because of her uncertainty, anxiety and downright fear, she came up with a brilliant solution to her problem.

She decided to speak for ten minutes and then open it up for questions from the audience.

She started by talking about herself (this is another strategy that you will learn in detail in our 27 part video program).  She also spoke about her colleagues at the station and told a short story of a serious but humorous incident.

So she spoke for the first ten minutes and then opened it up for questions.  She handled questions very well, often joking about the question… or taking time to answer it fully.

By getting the audience to ask questions, they were actually helping her with her presentation to them.  She no longer had to worry about running out of something to say… Taking questions from the audience was a great way of making sure she didn’t run out of information or forget what to say.

In addition, the audience loved the idea of asking questions and feeling as if they were part of her presentation.  They felt involved. They felt that in allowing them to be a part of the presentation, that that she was acknowledging them, not only their presence – but their knowledge and ideas.

Since it was a large crowd, she also took the liberty of walking down the aisles and making it more personal by talking directly to them.   It worked tremendously well.   The crowd loved the attention and demonstrated that with their overwhelming involvement.

The newscaster taped the speech so she could review it and learn more for her next speech, about the needs and questions that audiences may have.  Because she used this process, her ‘nerves’ were calmed by the audience. And since she now knew what their concerns were, she now had all the information she needed to develop her next presentation!

So, getting the audience involved can be a great way to overcome that dread of speaking in public.

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