Are you afraid of public speaking? Top tips to help you conquer your fear

It's a fact that most people are more afraid of public speaking than death, but why?

Well, interestingly, for the geeks amongst us (me included) this fear is rooted in our evolutionary history, as being separated from groups and standing out on our own would've meant likely death by predators in our cave dwelling days.

There is a phrase about 'dying on stage' used as a euphemism  for a really bad presentation which is poorly received, but even if your speech is terrible, you are highly unlikely to actually die on stage.

If you'll be making your debut as a speaker soon, I am so excited for you.

In all my years as a speaker, I have been told that what my audiences like about my keynotes is: that the passion for what I do, and my enthusiasm for my subject shines through. And that's what feels inspirational.

If you can manage to not get caught up in the fear, and feel brave enough to stand out on your own, you can have some incredible experiences that lead to great opportunities for your career.

But to reduce the fear, I have a few top tips to help you prepare yourself and feel ready to smash it!

My top tips for preparation:

  1. Be clear about the story you want to tell, and tell it! Only use slides to emphasise you point with images and key numbers (these will also prompt you to remember) DO NOT write yourself a script and try to remember it or read from notes. 
  2. The hardest part is the first 30 seconds, as the nerves kick in and try to take over. So keep practicing introducing yourself  over the next few days, and say ‘I am [insert name], and I’m here to share my story about [insert topic]’ in front of the mirror. Then trust me, the rest of your preso will flow out.
  3. If you can find out about how the room will be set up, (ie presenting from a stage/floor, pin mic or hand held, cabaret or theatre style audience, you will know what to expect and can visualise yourself smashing your preso in that setting. 
  4. Videoing yourself doing your pres while rehearsing with iPhone on selfie mode can be really helpful for you to pick up on your speed and movement the audience would see and spot any little idiosyncrasies like saying ‘um’ to give yourself time to think. You can give yourself feedback and iron out any little habits.

Top tips for delivery:

  1. Be yourself,  just you, telling your story, with all the passion and enthusiasm you naturally covey, but on a stage. The audience will relate to your authenticity and feel your speech as well as hear it.
  2. Engage your audience, make eye contact with people. Smile and ensure everyone in the room feels like you’re talking to them personally.
  3. Don’t be afraid to move around the stage if you have a pin mic. If it’s a big stage, this will help you connect with all sides of the room. 
  4. Don’t be afraid of silence. Pausing when you make a key point will help your audience process what you just said!
  5. Breathe! A few deep breaths before you start speaking will calm the adrenaline and your heart rate so you can perform at your best.

Wether you’re an expert in your field or not, if you are passionate about what you do, you will be naturally engaging.

You’ve got this babe! Just be you and the story will flow out of you to an audience who will feel completely inspired!

If you've got a presentation coming up, I'd love to to hear how it went. Best of luck ☘️ 


Clare Muscutt