Thursday, January 21, 2016

You Say You Have a Fear of Public Speaking, No You Don't, Here's Why

Here is some good news for you if you are one of those many human beings who suffer from a fear of public speaking.

The good news for you is that there is no such thing as a fear of public speaking.
The fear of public speaking is made up of other fears.

It’s those fears that need to be overcome to be successful speaking in public.

What are they? Try some of these on for size:
  • The fear of being judged by others.
  • The fear of forgetting what you’re going to say.
  • The fear of embarrassment.
  • The fear of not being good enough.
  •  The fear of not being liked.

To overcome these fears try these simple strategies:
1.    Fear of judgment:
Realize that, whether you are presenting in front of the room or not, you are being judged by others all the time. So, you might as well step up and let them. Embrace the judgment and engage them by asking for their feedback. This way, you are being proactive giving them permission to judge and giving yourself permission to be judged for a purpose, the purpose of improvement.

2.    Fear of forgetting:
Preparation, practice and notes will prevent you from forgetting what you’re going to say. Most speakers fail to rehearse enough. It’s not about memorizing the speech, it is about becoming familiar with your speech enough so you are comfortable with what you want to say. Whatever you forget, only you will know. No one will judge you because they have no idea on what they missed. Secondly, bring some notes as an outline with key words and phrases to refer to. As one of my speaking mentors has said you are in front of the room for your knowledge and experience, not because you are an expert at memorizing.

3.    Fear of embarrassment:
This is mostly a projected result of number two above. If you forget your material in the moment you feel you will embarrass yourself. Focus on the strategies for overcoming number two above and you’ll be fine.

4.    Fear of not being good enough:
Welcome to the “Imposter Syndrome,” a term coined in the 1970s by two psychologists where an individual’s insecurities take over and they feel they are an imposter in the role they fill. Speaking in performing and most all performance artists live with these insecurities. The best see the nervous anxiety as energy and put the energy towards serving the audience.

5.    Fear of not being liked:
You will never win over the entire audience. Don’t worry about that. If you worry about those that may not like you, you will lose the ones that do, too. Look into the audience and connect with the friendly faces with whom you make eye contact. Speak to them. Look for the head nods, speak to them.

Work on the real fears underlying the “fear of public speaking” and you’ll not only become a great presenter in front of audiences of all sizes, you will also transform the rest of your life as your self-esteem and self-confidence soars in the most important contexts you need for unlimited success.

 Skip Weisman is The Workplace Communication Expert and a member of an elite group of international World Class Speaking Coaches.

Skip works with aspiring speakers to improve their presentation skills and programs around content, organization and delivery, while also working with the owners and CEOs of small businesses with between 6-60 employees to improve communication in the workplace.

The work Skip does with his small business clients can transform work environments in as little as 90-days to create a championhip company cultures that are more positive, more productive and even more profitable.

For more tips on making your speeches even more dynamic go to


  1. Love the way you unpacked the statement. So true!


    1. Thanks, Jeannie, glad you liked the concept.