A Note About Getting Over The Fear

As many as 41% of people have significant fear about giving a speech.

If you are afraid, you are NOT alone.

Here are four ways to help yourself get over the fear:


"Public Speaking is nothing more than having a conversation, with 2 or more people, about something you are passionate about . . . while you just happen to be standing up!"

It is not meant to be scary. It is only scary when you approach it the wrong way - as a Performance. Go get a piece of paper and write the word "SPEECH" on it. Now, draw a circle around it. Now, put a diagonal line through that circle. Write the word, "CONVERSATION" instead, in big letters. That is what you are doing!!

2. FOCUS ON THEM, NOT YOU!! The best speakers do NOT focus on themselves. They focus on the audience and getting the information and the passion communicated to their audience. It's all about THEM, not you. This actually helps take the pressure off of you because, again, it is NOT a performance, you are sharing something important FOR YOUR AUDIENCE.

3. IGNITE THE PASSION: Compare the giving of a "speech" to what happens when they see friends at the mall after seeing a fantastic movie or a rock concert and can't wait to share the story of what they just experienced. THAT is the tone. Pure, simple enthusiasm. If the enthusiasm is strong, it will largely overcome the fear. Get them to get excited about the subject they want to speak about and you are more than halfway home!

4. RELAXATION TECHNIQUES: As in life, breathing is VERY helpful here. But it has to be deep, diaphramatic breathing. Here are two exercises I use. They REALLY work to calm you down AND to give you more energy.

A. The 1 - 4 - 2: Breathe in through your nose. Hold four times that long. Exhale twice as long as the inhale. So, if you start with 4 (a good, easy place to start), have them hold for 16, then try to exhale for 8. Move up to 6/24/12, then maybe even 10/40/20. The longer they hold the oxygen in their lungs, the more it expands (the body will heat the gas, oxygen, from 72 degrees to body temperature, 98.6. In the process, the gas will expand and force the oxygen deeper into one's body than the normal shallow breathing. Since oxygen, remarkably, is a relaxant and a stimulant, after 3 or 4 "rounds" you will feel both relaxed and energized, in the very most natural way possible! (Don't do this while driving, though!!)

B. Alternate Nostril Breathing: This works in a different and equally wonderful way. Simply put your thumb from your right hand on your right nostril and breathe into your left (for a decent sized breath). Then, after a little pause, release the right nostril, put your middle finger on the left nostril and exhale out of the right nostril. Continue, with breathing in the right, out the left, in the left, out the right, for at least 3 full cycles. While it will look and feel silly this WILL calm you down as it balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain, by making sure that they both have ample, and equal oxygen.