Speaking in Public

Things That Stop Most People Presenting in Public & How to Overcome Them

The Things That Stop Most People Presenting in Public & How to Overcome Them

By: Maria Davies

Gerald R. Ford said “If I went back to college again, I’d concentrate on two areas: learning to write and learning to speak before an audience. Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.”

Public speaking is the number one skill that’s guaranteed to position you head and shoulders above the competition, yet it’s frequently overlooked, according to female speaker, Patricia Fripp.

My own take on having the ability to give presentations is that it’s probably the single most powerful thing you can learn to do that gives you the ammunition to say “If I can do that, I can do anything”.

If you’ve ever marvelled at the abilities of a great presenter, the clever use of words to draw pictures, the confidence and charisma that exudes from the platform and the awe in which they are held, you’ll agree with the above statements.

So why is it that when it comes to attending training courses, presentation skills are not the automatic first port of call? Could it be to do with that oft quoted (probably misquoted) statistic that speaking in public is feared more than death? Let’s not go into an examination of quite how ridiculous that would be if it were true. After all, how many of you would really swap places with the guy in the coffin if you were asked to speak at a funeral?

There’s no doubt that public presenting can get the old palms sweating, but given the benefits you’ll get when you know you can do it well, it really shouldn’t stop you. Let’s examine the causes of nerves so you lay your fears to rest and get this most important of abilities added to your arsenal of talents, shall we?

First, examine why you’re nervous. There’s always a reason for nerves so examine what the reasons are so you can deal with the cause and go a long way to eliminating the symptom. Note that I say “go a long way to eliminating”, the chances are that you’ll always feel some nervousness which is when you need to remember that nerves are your friends because they keep your senses sharp & show that you want to do well.

Even seasoned performers suffer from stage fright, some had it so bad they could barely perform. Fortunately, the thought is usually worse than the task. Once you get started, you’ll often find that your nervousness will disappear. I liken it to knowing that you’re about to tackle a drive round London’s Hyde Park Corner or Paris’s Arc de Triomphe in rush hour. Thinking about it really freaks you out but when you’re in the middle of it, you’re too busy concentrating on not hitting anyone that it’s only afterwards you get to think “Wow, I made it in one piece.”

Some of the most common reasons I’ve found for people suffering from nerves are these:

  • Worry about forgetting what you’re going to say
  • Worry that the audience will think you’re a fraud
  • Worry about saying the wrong thing and offending somebody
  • Worry that someone will ask a question to which you don’t know the answer
  • Worry that you’ll get a dry mouth or get tongue tied
  • Worry that you’ll finish too soon or run long

Some of the less common ones I’ve heard were “I’m worried in case there’s a fire alarm halfway through my talk” and “I’m worried that the hem on my trousers will unravel in front of everyone whilst I’m speaking.”

I could dismiss all these are “silly” or “invalid” and tell you that none of them will ever happen, but the fact is that they often will. (Yes, even the trouser hem thing’s happened to me!). Looking down the list, you can see that there’s a lot you can do to avoid these situations occurring: being well prepared, stating your qualifications in your introduction, knowing your subject matter inside and out, timing yourself several times during rehearsals, and so on (sorry, I don’t have a magic bean to disable fire bells during speeches).

But so what if any of them still come to pass? What’s the worst that can happen? Well it’s not life or death, you know. You have to learn to keep your fears in perspective. And remember, the audience wants you to succeed. Nobody enjoys a bad speech.

Do what you can to be prepared and don’t let fear of speaking stop you from gaining that most revered of all skills, the one that will impact every area of your personal and business life. Give yourself the very best opportunity of succeeding and you’ll find the rewards are massive.

Author Bio
Maria Davies is the UK’s most successful female sales presenter who trains others to overcome their public speaking fears and use presentation skills to increase the audience share for their product or service by around 91%. Find out more about forthcoming seminars, worldwide e-trainings or speaker bookings at www.laddersofsuccess.com

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About Granger Whitelaw

Granger Whitelaw founded the Rocket Racing League along with partner, Peter Diamandis in 2005. See more information at http://www.grangerwhitelaw.com/blog and http://grangerwhitelaw.brandyourself.com View all posts by Granger Whitelaw

19 responses to “Speaking in Public

  • MOnica

    I would like to say something to this one “Public speaking is the number one skill that’s guaranteed to position you head and shoulders above the competition”, first is I am amused having to read this one because I experience this and I totally can relate to this. In any job, to speak and to communicate fluently and grammatically correct is an edge and also it is very attractive. Even me myself I want to learn not just to write but also to speak attractively.

  • Renier Glan

    Thanks for posting this article and I also experiencing this one, this worrying about forgetting what you’re going to say and worrying that the audience will think you’re a fraud and I think I figured it out a little why it is happening on me and I think it is because that I have lack of confidence in myself even though I really studied what I should speak into the public or audience.

  • Friend

    I have to really learn to have to learn to keep my fears in perspective because that is what I am lacking of right now and maybe because I am still at young age in making this big assignments and doing the talk in the front of public and many people. I think everyone or maybe not everyone but some of us here or some of the people around there are just like me and we can not really deny that.

  • Fedil

    Memorizing your speed in your room and reading it again and again is still has a big difference in making a public speech in front of a live audience and many people. It will be full of heart jumps and it will be so nervous and we tend to really accept the fact that we can’t do anything about it because it is really hard to fight against nervous and it can really block our mental capabilities.

  • Cecille

    I think this would give a little confidence in myself “Even seasoned performers suffer from stage fright, some had it so bad they could barely perform”, I think that is kind of a bright side because in my experience I always have a stage fright and always get nervous easily when speaking into public or many audiences. I like reading this article because it is not like informing but also helping and encouraging.

  • Kardel

    The best hint among some hints that you mentioned here is the doing what you can to be prepared and don’t let fear of speaking stop you from gaining that most revered of all skills, the one that will impact every area of your personal and business life. Hints about public speaking are very important since it is helping many people that are not good and can not really speak literally in many viewers or audiences.

  • Della

    Speaking in public is very hard and one should have a really remarkable confidence to say such good things in front of the people. I think in statistics many people are more shy and cannot speak in front of many people than other people who can manage talking to many audiences. I thank you and I appreciate your work on this article because this will be helpful and useful to others just like what one of the commentors above told us.

  • Rayjan

    How I wish I can do this “Do what you can to be prepared and don’t let fear of speaking stop you from gaining that most revered of all skills, the one that will impact every area of your personal and business life.”, I mean it is really hard for us people that is not so used in getting along with others, I am a computer and internet geek so what would you expect, I am not so good at socializing people and I still don’t know how to overcome my fear in speaking on an audiences.

  • Luis Hendry

    Such a quite impressive adivice ” being well prepared, stating your qualifications in your introduction, knowing your subject matter inside and out, timing yourself several times during rehearsals, and so on”, but there are some things and some times that we can’t really control ourselves and we just don’t know what to do with the situation. I think I have solve some of the issue of being panic in a public speaking, I think the solution is to set our mind very often days and hours before the presentation.

  • Patrick

    It’s really very embarrassing to speak in front of many people but you know you have to really take care of yourself with that. I am one of those people who have stage fright and can’t speak in front people but that was before and now I already overcome that fright and the scary feeling that I have before in talking to many people is get lessen but of course that will be erased 100%. I think this kind of matter is a mind over thing matter, it’s all in the mind and I think you have to really think hard that you can do it and you are all just the same.

  • Randy Joe

    I have been always examining and finding the reason that you are talking in here “here’s always a reason for nerves so examine what the reasons are so you can deal with the cause and go a long way to eliminating the symptom”, I think there is really reason obviously but I can’t find it and I think there are many of it since I am not confident and what I do in public and speaking in public. I always want to practice speaking in public but it is just that it is kind of hard to me to that compared to my other friends that have lots of lots of guts and confidence when it comes to talking in large audiences.

  • Anton

    Speaking in public is quite a hard task and you really have to overcome your fear and you need to have self confidence in what you are doing. Self-confidence is extremely important in almost every aspect of our lives, yet so many people struggle to find it. Sadly, this can be a vicious circle: People who lack self-confidence can find it difficult to become successful. We really need to have self confidence.

  • Del

    It is necessary that we should talk and enhance our social level and also speaking in public. It is not easy but it is necessary for me, in my opinion we should really enhance it since our world is all about talking and the people who know how to talk make great things. I am much encouraged by some of my friends that know how to talk not just to many people but also to girls.

  • Fear

    A great fear that many people have is speaking before a group or audience. The primary reason is that they are afraid of looking foolish in front of other people. The way to overcome this fear is through preparation, a safety net, and a positive attitude toward the audience. Thank for the post, I really love reading it from the beginning until the end, it also gave me a lot of idea how to overcome Glossophobia- fear in public speaking.

  • Lyncy

    Yes and we literally know the reason behind this ” There’s always a reason for nerves so examine what the reasons are so you can deal with the cause and go a long way to eliminating the symptom”, but we don’t know how to overcome it because in the first place it is the main reason why we have this nervous thingy. I admire that you have given us some good explanations and good advice that we can use in the future and future endeavor in speaking public.

  • Van C.

    Speaking in public needs very high confidence and practices… However, the look of an individual adds confidence and also their voice quality. Also, they should be familiar on what gestures means and how they are used from places to places. This will sure give idea to those who are staged frightened and who have not yet earned enough confidence. More importantly smile can change ones mood. Thanks

  • Planer

    You have a big point here “My own take on having the ability to give presentations is that it’s probably the single most powerful thing you can learn to do that gives you the ammunition to say “If I can do that, I can do anything”, especially to people that have really big fear in speaking public and speaking to many people. It can literally be true since talking is really powerful and that is why some people said that words are very powerful and it can be a weapon or a protector if you know how to use it. I could not agree more to this wonderful blog that I have read to really encourage people who have fear in speaking public or speaking in many people.

  • Cecile

    I think, this kind of fear is very common to all, even for me, I’ve been in many seminars talking about this public speaking, but until now, my knees are still shaking if I’m in front in many people. Well I guess to become a very good speaker, one must possess a high self-confidence, by believing in yourself and on what you can do, then later you will become the best speaker you want to be.

  • Neri

    I believe that overcoming fear of speaking in public or speaking in a large audience is really hard but I also believe that it can still be overcome with step by step training and also practice. I am not really a grown man with great confidence in speaking in large audience but I have seen people practicing their confidence and guts to other people and one of them are politicians. To be even just a leader in your small place will create and make you a better confidence especially that many people will be talking to you and so you will be more social.

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