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Fear of Public Speaking

OnStage5

I have this demented delusion that I enjoy public speaking (actually, I LOVE radio interviews and teleclasses and TV) only to find myself on the verge of puking and wanting to curl up into a fetal position before each live event.

Laurence Olivier and Barbra Streisand are notorious for the same affliction: what we experience as anxiety is really that adrenaline we need to perform.

As for those in-the moment-fears… I was a professional ballerina 30 (gasp!) years ago. You CANNOT pay attention to the details while you perform. You’ll trip. It’s like driving: focus way ahead to stay on track.

BTW, I usually have a moment when I speak when I think, “I’m really SUCKING!” Then I pull it together. No one knows.

If you have PASSION and ANIMATION for what you’re speaking about, your audience will forgive almost anything. Most of the speakers they’ve seen have been deathly dull. Entertain your audience and they’ll love you for it.


  1. June 13, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Great Post

    You’re absolutely right that if you have passion for a topic, people will forgive the nitpicky aspects of a speech such as ums & ahs, etc….

    I actually teach people how to deal with their fears of public speaking and the first thing I do is tell them to pick a topic they’re interested in or passionate about. Speaking on such a topic automatically brings out the best in us and before you know it, you’ve forgotten about your fears.

    James

  2. July 12, 2009 at 6:25 am

    I love the analogy about dancing – I tell people this over and over again; being “in the zone” is not the same as being “in the moment”…….

    You’re also absolutely right that audience’s can be very forgiving. Unless you’re a professional speaker you don’t need to make the earth move every time you make a presentation – you just need to be ‘good enough’ to get the message over. The message, is, after all, the important thing, not the presenter!

    Cheers…. Simon

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