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HOME::Presentation Tips

Top 7 Strategies To Get Beyond The Fear Factor - Public Speaking

By Aileen Pincus

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Even for those of us who enjoy it, public speaking can be intimidating. Getting over the fear is essential for business owners and entrepreneurs if they are to inform, let alone persuade others of the strength of their ideas. Leaving the communication to others means leaving the leadership to others, so follow these 7 Strategies to become comfortable with public speaking.

  1. Preparation is Key
    The single most important thing you can do to boost your confidence as a public speaker is to be prepared. Learn to think of your audience as investors in your ideas. What is it you need to say to them and that they need to hear from you to become 'invested'?

  2. Assume Good Intentions
    If your audience didn’t want to hear what you had to say, they wouldn’t be there. They are eager to hear you. Greeting members of your audience ahead of time will help humanize them for you, and help take away some of the fear of the unknown.

  3. Channel those nerves
    Don’t seek to get rid of those fears--you just want to channel that energy to heighten your performance. Blow a bit of the ‘froth’ off that energy by expending some physical exercise—a brisk walk, or deep-knee bends. Several deep breaths with slow exhalation really will help you slow a racing heart and help you focus.

  4. Don't lower expectations.
    Don't tell the audience you're nervous or that its the first time you've spoken before such a group. They very likely will have no idea if you don't tell them and telling them will only lower their expectations of your performance.

  5. Try some distraction.
    Many speakers are most nervous at the beginning of a speech. Try some planned questions to the audience to get the focus off of yourself for the opening moments--that may be enough to calm the worst of your nerves. (Hint: Be sure to only ask the audience questions you know the answer to!)

  6. Take a risk
    Many who fear speaking in public retreat behind their materials. We in the audience want to see the presenter present, so DON'T hide behind the podium or lose us in power point. Make sure you concentrate on eye contact with the audience, whatever method you use.

  7. Tell a story
    The facts actually don't speak for themselves. Put them in some kind of context for us. We'll remember more of what you say in any kind of public speaking forum if you engage us with a story.

Aileen Pincus
The Pincus Group


Article Submitted On: February 15, 2007