3 Ways to Overcome Public Speaking Fear

Do you get a lump in your throat when you hear the term public speaking? Palms get sweaty, your heart races, and your mouth gets dry? First, hear these words and never forget them:

Great speakers were not born great speakers.

I hope that makes you feel better! It’s the truth- public speaking is something you need to work your way up to becoming fluid, natural and stress-free. Here are a few great tips that helped me want to be in front of audiences, not fear being in front of audiences:

1. Own your content. Being comfortable in a public speaking scenario means being able to speak your content, not recite it. Imagine this: You stand in front of a group and have to speak your name, your birth date, your favorite color, your favorite hobby, and your favorite singer. WOW! How simple. Why? Because you know that information already, you have it committed to memory, and you don’t fear forgetting something. I’ve noticed that most people actually fear forgetting part of their speech more than the actual part of speaking to a group. Again, know your content and be able to talk it…. not recite it. Good luck, you can do it!

2. Don’t walk a plank. Public speaking means doing your own thing, being YOU! Don’t feel you need to follow a detailed layout. Be YOU. Be YOU. Be YOU. I can’t stress that enough! Stand up, tell them who you are, why you are here, and then tell them all about why you are here, then tell them why you were here! Thank them for listening. If being you means starting with humor, do so. Beware: don’t start with humor if you aren’t funny- that is the worst, and it sets tension between you and the audience right off the get-go! Personally, I start with a great story from my Secret Service days in order to grab the attention of the audience.

3. Have Fun! This sounds silly but I promise it’s critical to feeling confident and delivering an outstanding presentation. Deep breaths before you begin, have water handy, look into the eyes of your guests, and put on a genuine smile. Let them know you want to be there and you enjoy being there. It will do wonders for cutting any tension you think may exist.