Public speaking, does it scare you?

Public speaking, does it scare you?

It is estimated that 75% of people have a fear of public speaking [1], that means the majority of people you know and possibly even yourself may have a fear of speaking in front of others. However, public speaking does not have to be intimidating or stress-inducing, through practice and acquiring a series of learned skills those with a fear of public speaking can become a confident speaker with the ability to talk to anyone at any given time.


Let’s take a look into the most common tips in helping overcome the fear of public speaking.


  1. Expect to be nervous, being nervous is completely normal. You may be surprised but the nervousness you experience may not be a bad thing. When you experience adrenaline, you are more alert and aware of your surroundings, if you are able to take this adrenaline and turn it into positive energy you will be sure to give your best performance [2,4].


  1. Always prepare thoroughly. Being prepared will help ease your nerves, anxiety and fear. There are many ways in which you can prepare to speak. First is to become comfortable with the subject at hand and any material you will be using. For example, if you will be using a power point be sure to review the presentation in depth and truly understand all of the elements, this confidence will allow you to speak more freely when presenting. Next, you will need to practice, and I mean A LOT. You need to know what you are going to say and why you are saying it. This preparation will give you the ability to connect with your audience allowing you to become even more relaxed while in front of your peers. Pro tip: Practice in front of a video camera or have a friend/family member go over your speech with you. Not only are you gaining valuable practicing in front of an audience, but they will be able to provide you with constructive feedback [3,4].


  1. Don’t just read your speech or presentation word for word. Really understand the material and then you will be able to talk through this material in a conversational tone with your audience. This will allow you to personalize the material to connect with your audience, which in turn will allow you to choose your words wisely for the particular group at hand. For example, you may address a room of 15-year olds slightly different than a room full of 50-year olds. Knowing how to add proper inflections, stories, and personal insights specific to your audience will help your personality come through and keep them engaged.


  1. Use your audience to your advantage. Start to think about them rather than you, make them your allies. Try focusing on a friend in the audience or one person that catches your attention. Another way to connect with your audience is to wisely incorporate audio and visual elements. It is important to make sure these audio and visual elements enhance or clarify your content; this will help capture and maintain your audience’s attention.


  1. Act confident, no matter what. You have acknowledged your nerves, you have studied your material, you have surveyed your crowd so take a deep breath and show them what you got. Remember the crowd won’t know you are scared or nervous unless you let them see it. Smile big and get to it [2].



Having the ability to speak in front of others is critical to any business success so for all of you entrepreneurs out there we encourage you to embrace public speaking and make it your friend. Over time you will notice it becomes easier with each speech or presentation you make.