How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking in Seven Powerful Steps.txt

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Have you ever avoided a career or business opportunity because it required you to speak
publicly?  Did you ever have a great idea you wanted to share in a group setting but didn't
because of your fear of speaking in front of a group of people? 

You are not alone in the fear of public speaking.  In my travels, I have seen where the fear
of public speaking have kept otherwise very successful people in all walks of life from achieving
their full potential.  When you let this fear dominate your life, you lose out on promotions,
business opportunities, community activities, and most of all self-confidence.

The following are seven powerful secrets to empowering you to overcome your fear of public
speaking and achieving a new level of success in your career, your business, and your life:

1. Ask Yourself the Important Question

Ask yourself, "Where does my fear come from and is it real?"  Was there a public speaking
opportunity in the past that you think didn't go well or that you felt was poorly prepared? 
Maybe you had to stand up in front of your classmates in high school or college and someone
made what you perceived as a negative comment concerning your presentation.  Maybe
you gave a good speech but you started to over analyze every detail of the speech.

First, realize that whatever happened did so at another time and place and you are no longer that
person.  With new experiences, you have grown into a more confident person with much to
offer.  Second, embrace feedback, extract the true areas of improvement from the feedback
and work to improve your public speaking ability.  Be honest and fair with yourself and
determine if the feedback is coming from someone who is qualified to give quality
feedback.  I had one presentation skills student whose manager told her she was a poor
speaker because she moved her hands and arms during the presentation.  Was the
manager giving qualified feedback?   Doubtful.  Yet, this manager's feedback
affected this employee in a negative way for years until the employee became my coaching

Again, separate qualified feedback from unqualified feedback and learn from it.  Also, don't
allow negative public speaking situations that happen in the past apply to your present or future
public speaking opportunities.

2. Face Your Fear of Public SpeakingThe fastest way to overcome any fear, much less the fear of
public speaking, is to face your fear and attack it. Look for and embrace opportunities to make
presentations.  Start with non-threatening opportunities such as your children's school
meeting or a non-work related situation and work your way up to more important, high pressure
situations such as work meetings.

Realize that each time you speak is an opportunity to improve your speaking ability.  Look at
your public speaking skills as a muscle.  The more you exercise your public speaking
muscle, the stronger it becomes and you will improve your speaking abilities.

Go into each public speaking opportunity with a clear set of goals.  Maybe for your first
speech, you may have a goal of eliminating "hums" and "ahs."  For another speech you may
have a goal of completing your speech with a powerful ending. 

3. Visualize Your Public Speaking Success

Invest time the night before you speak to visualize what a successful speech looks, sounds, and
feels like and how you will feel while giving it.  If you don't see it yourself, it won't
happen.  Most presentations can be dramatically improved just by investing time ahead of
the presentation to visualize a successful outcome.

4. Master the Material

Invest the time to know what you are presenting.  Invest time to rehearse several variations
of your speech.  Rehearse your speech as if something goes wrong.  What if your
PowerPoint goes down, you forget a section in your speech, or someone heckles you? 
How will you react?  If you know your material well enough, you will be able to overcome
any presentation challenge.

5. Master Your Public Speaking Mind

During a group coaching session, a presenter started speaking, made a mistake and promptly
announced, "I hate speaking in public!"  In this instance, she did not manage her public
speaking mind, and let her fear of public speaking take over her performance.

When you make negative statements concerning public speaking, it will reinforce your fear of
public speaking.  Take the time to replace negative statements with positive public speaking

6. Take Time to Analyze Your Performance

In most cases, we are our own toughest critics when speaking. Whenever you speak, videotape or
audiotape your presentations, sit down, and honestly analyze your performance.  Once you
start to record your presentations, you will realize that some of the issues you were worried about
aren't in your speech and you will instantly see areas of improvement and address them
accordingly.  As the old saying goes, "The video doesn't lie."

Ask for feedback from people you respect and who can give you quality, supportive feedback that
will empower you to want apply the feedback in your next speech.  Before your speech, tell
the person you ask to give you feedback what your public speaking goals are and what you are
working to improve.
Once you analyze your areas of improvement, immediately go out and exercise your public
speaking muscle and apply the improvement.

7. Reward Yourself

Reward yourself for any improvements in your public speaking skills.  The reward is up to
you, but make sure to immediately reward yourself.

Bonus Public Speaking Secret:  If you forget a word or a phrase during your speech, never
apologize and keep speaking as though nothing happened.  Unless the audience has a
detailed transcript of your speech, they won't know what you forgot.  Don't let the fear of
forgetting something in your speech keep you from giving great speeches.

Now, go out and exercise your public speaking muscle to give outstanding presentations. 
When you apply the seven secrets to overcoming your fear of public speaking, you will realize
more opportunities and gain a new level of confidence.

Ed Sykes is a highly sought after leadership, motivation, stress management, customer service,
and team building expert, success coach, professional speaker, and author of "Jumpstart Your
You can e-mail him at, or call him at (757) 427-7032.
Go to his web site,, and signup for the free success newsletter,

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