“Overcoming Speaking Fear”

Jerry Seinfeld summed it up one night when he said, “You know people would rather DIE than give a speech.  Think of the poor guy giving a eulogy at a relative’s funeral, he’d rather be in the box!”

Why do we fear speaking?

The biggest fear of most humans is speaking in public, otherwise known as performance anxiety.  In sales, whether you’re a manger or salesperson, professional speaking skills will be a critical component of your success.

We fear speaking because:

  • We fear making ourselves vulnerable in front of others.
  • We fear failure.
  • We fear being ridiculed.
  • We fear we’re being judged.

As a professional speaker or one who makes occasional presentations, you will never get rid of the fear but you will learn to channel it.  Performance anxiety is the dynamic tension necessary to give energy to your speech.

Keep in mind the words of Emerson.” Do what you fear the most and the death of fear is certain.”

Ways to handle the fear:

  • Visualize your success
  • Check the room early and get set up at least one hour prior to audience arriving.
  • Deep breathing-look in the mirror and say out loud, “For the next 30 minutes (or whatever), these are the most important people in my life. “This will take the pressure off of you.


To make an impact on your audience, you need to emotionally connect.  For your message to have impact, the presenter must have believability and be passionate about their message.

Think back to high school-who was the best teacher you ever had?  The teacher who stands out has ENERGY, is INTERESTING to listen to and who had DYNAMIC and CREATIVE ways of getting the message across.  It had nothing to do with the depth of knowledge or degrees earned.  The best teachers were the most excited and enthused, this is called The Energy Factor.

Who are the best communicators? A 2 year old, of course!!  They don’t care what people think of them, they will shout, cry, whine, make faces to get their point across.  They are most persuasive.  The secret of your favorite teacher and a 2 year old is ENERGY.

Some things to remember :

All audience members look for 2 things when they attend a presentation:

1. “What’s in it for me?”

2. “Can I take this back to the job?”

Make sure you:

  • Tell them what you are going to tell them
  • Tell them
  • Tell them what you told them


  • Does it break pre-occupation?
  • Does it facilitate networking?
  • -Is it relevant?

Types of Openings

  • 1. Tell a story
  • 2. Refer to the occasion
  • 3. Offer a sincere compliment
  • 4. Start with a quotation
  • 5. Make a significant statement
  • 6. Refer to the previous speaker
  • 7. Make a promise
  • 8. Ask a question


Types of Closings

  • 1. Summarize
  • 2. Recap
  • 3. Tell a story
  • 4. Ask a rhetorical question
  • 5. End like the beginning (Paul Harvey)

Being a better communicator will improve your career and your personal relationships.  Like anything else, the more practice you have, the better you will become!! See you at the next convention and “break a leg”!!


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2 Responses to ““Overcoming Speaking Fear””

  1. Meera Sharma Says:

    I would like to be a speaker. I am a freelance interpreter in HIndi and Punjabi languages. I also host a Hindi radio show on AM530 7 days a week. I write for a Punjabi newspaper as well on immigrant womens issues. let me know if you can help me get work as a speaker

    • melindabrody Says:

      Check out National Speaker Association for speaker ideas on how to market yourself. I’ve been a member for over 15 years and it has helped big time. Their conference is in Orlando starting today. Good Luck.

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