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Why Are We Terrified of Public Speaking?


I failed public speaking in grade school, ’cause I was so nervous and scared.                                                

                                                                                                                        – Gary Clark, Jr.couple peeping through hole in white paper

It has been said that the mind is an amazing thing! It starts to function the moment you are born and stops functioning the moment you start to think about public speaking.

Last week I taught a half-day workshop entitled “The Art of Public Speaking” at the Morris County Chamber of Commerce to a room of successful professionals.

Looking back on it and reading the feedback, I think I will start calling it “How to Talk in Public Without Having a Heart Attack”.  After 15 years of teaching public speaking skills, I no longer wonder what the #1 reason is that people attend…It is to TRY to get over the fear!

I hear things like…Please help me:

  • Reduce my nerves
  • Get out of my head
  • Lose some of the “Sheer Terror” of public speaking
  • Manage my anxiety
  • Stop my heart from racing

When I am asked about how to get over the fear of public speaking I generally answer the same way.


Most things seem scary at first. We feel we are being judged… (We are)!

The learning is in the doing. It really is. The more you go out and do it the more comfortable you will become.

Here are some things you can do to ease your mind!

  1. Get to know your audience – Then it will be like talking to friends
  2. Be prepared – Write out your presentation
  3. Plan to give a knockout presentation (practice…practice…practice.)
  4. Expect to deliver a good presentation

The biggest fears are always based on our mindset and the scary stories we tell ourselves.  These stories usually start with the What If’s — What if I stumble…What if I don’t remember something.

I ask people to look at their story from a different perspective and start saying something like …What if I give the presentation of a lifetime!

Don’t let opportunities slip by because you were afraid to STEP UP & STAND OUT!

For more tips, download 10 Tips for Better Public Speaking.

Tommy Hilcken Productions offers individual and group coaching programs for building public speaking and leadership skills.  Contact us for a no-obligations meeting to learn more.