Publications & Products
Volume 2, Issue 47

Overcome Fear of Public Speaking

A CASE author says that presenters should approach their speeches with a sense of relaxation—taking deep breaths before speaking and not allowing their muscles to get too tight.

"If you visualize yourself as an outstanding speaker and picture yourself delivering a great speech, you can do it," writes John Feudo, associate vice president for alumni relations at Boston College, in the CASE book I'd Rather Eat Live Spiders: A Definitive Guide to Becoming a Successful Speaker. "Imagine your gestures flowing, and see the people in the audience applauding and nodding their heads in approval."

Feudo offers a few other suggestions for overcoming the fear of public speaking. They include:

  • Focus on what you can control. "As a speaker, you have the ability to control nearly every factor: your presentation; your delivery; even your audience, to a certain extent, because it's up to you to get them to pay attention," he writes. "You can even help control the environment by showing up early enough to check the room set-up, lighting, sound, audiovisual equipment, etc."
  • Prepare fully. "The better prepared you are, the less afraid you will be," Feudo writes.
  • Practice numerous times. "Feel confident about your ability to understand your topic completely, so you can develop the confidence necessary to present the material well," he writes.
  • Memorize the first line of your speech. "As you're being introduced, repeat the first sentence over and over to yourself," Feudo writes. "Once you begin speaking and get those first few words out of the way, you'll feel more at ease."

This article is from the June 3, 2013 issue.

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