Three Ways to Overcome Nervousness and Fear Around Public Speaking

Public Speaking

This post was originally featured on the Bay Business Help blog. 

If you want to get a jumpstart on getting better, sign up for 90 Days to Better Speaking and learn what it truly takes to become a better speaker.

The Moment We All Fear…

how to get over fear of public speaking

Whether you’re in business or working for someone else, at some point in your career you’re likely to face a microphone and a waiting audience.

Or, if that doesn’t describe you, then at some point you’ll need to make a toast at a wedding or retirement party.

Public speaking is something we all face at some point in our lives.

The sooner we can gain a little skill at it the better off we’ll be. If it’s part of your work it can even help hasten a promotion.

The higher up you go in a company the more you’ll need to address an audience. It’s unavoidable.

This is why it’s so important to get past the nervousness and fear of public speaking. It’s a very common anxiety and one that’s easier to get over than you might think. Here are 3 solid ways to do it.

Three Solid Ways to Get Over Nervousness and Fear Of Public Speaking

1. Force yourself to practice.

This is by far the best way to resolve your fear of public speaking. In 1998 I took the 12-week signature Dale Carnegie course.

I was sick of not being able to properly address groups and didn’t want it holding me back any more.

As part of the Dale Carnegie program participants were required to speak for 2 minutes every week. Some weeks we had to speak twice!

It was very difficult in the beginning, but after the halfway mark something remarkable happened.

I was actually starting to like it a little bit. By the end of the course I was less nervous and more excited about what I was doing up there. I was thinking more about the content and getting it out there than my nervousness!

It was all due to the regular practice I was getting.

Don’t make excuses to get out of speaking. Just do it.

Go out there and blow it and then do it again. No champion was skilled in the beginning but they persevered until they became great.

2. Focus on the part of the audience that really wants to hear you.

Nervousness around speaking is almost 100% mentally derived. It’s all in our heads.

One of the reasons we’re nervous is because we’re thinking about the people in the audience who might be judging us. Stop doing that!

Don’t give a lick about those people. Instead, focus on the ones that care. They make up the majority of the audience and they don’t expect you to be perfect.

Once you realize this fact you’ll feel less nervous.

You’ll see more about this point in the video below.

3. Understand that the audience can’t perceive how nervous you actually are.


I’ve heard that nervous speakers feel 3x more nervous than the audience can ascertain. That’s because they can’t see the butterflies in your stomach  or the sweat trickling down your side.

Only you know how nervous you really are.

If you would only stop dwelling on your body and what’s happening with it and focus on the audience you could get on with the job at hand and do better.

The key here is to get out of your head.

Remember it’s a mental game and you can win. Watch the video now to learn more about this point.

What Ways Do You Deal With Nervousness?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you deal with nervousness around public speaking and whether these tips help you.

If you want to get a jumpstart on getting better, sign up for 90 Days to Better Speaking and learn what it truly takes to become a better speaker.

By Michael NeuendorffMichael Neuendorff on FacebookMichael Neuendorff on Google+Michael Neuendorff on Twitter Visit author's website

Michael Neuendorff is a versatile coach, consultant, trainer and speaker. He works with businesses and individuals in the areas of online marketing and public speaking. His marketing specialties are social media and email marketing. He’s a HootSuite Professional. He holds an Advertising degree from Arizona State University.

Comments (1)

  1. Great tips that I can definitely benefit from.
    I’ve been speaking to audiences for many years and been in Toastmasters for the past 4 years. I know that when I get up to speak my heart starts thumping much harder than normal. When that happens, I remind myself: oh yes, here’s that familiar sensation that means I’m pumped up and ready to engage with my audience.
    Familiarity with standing in front of an audience does not breed contempt – it breeds comfort. The more you get up and speak the more familiar and comfortable it becomes.

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