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Fears and Facts about Public Speaking in Business


Guest articles > Fears and Facts about Public Speaking in Business


by: Paul Trevino


It is difficult to know how many people are afraid of public speaking but the general consensus is that the figure is around 75%. If you are one of these people you are not alone! You will usually experience on of the following reactions when asked to provide a public presentation:

  • A flashback to either a time when you gave a public speech and it went wrong or to when you imagined that you had given a talk and had made a serious error of judgment; such as forgetting to wear clothes!
  • You will probably be scared of feeling and looking silly.
  • You imagine that everyone will laugh at you and inform you that you do not know what you are talking about.
  • You have a fear of freezing; of starting to talk and either nothing coming out or your mind going completely blank.

The good news is that there is a way to overcome these fears and become a good public speaker:

Practice makes perfect. Don’t be shy!

As with so many things in life it is simply a case of practicing. Practice how you might present your material and how you appear to those listening. This will ensure you are comfortable with the chosen subject and know what you are talking about. It will also provide you with an opportunity to assess how you present yourself and how this can be improved. It is essential to check your posture and ensure you do not wave your arms around unnecessarily.

Take your time and control your pace

It is a common fault to rush your speech in an effort to either get the information across or to end the speech as quickly as possible. This will not help your audience engage. You need to slow your speaking down so that people can follow your thoughts and take regular pauses to allow your audience to absorb the information.

Focus on the audience

Before you start your speech scan the audience. You will be able to see who is already paying attention and you should be able to identify what your audience will respond to. It is always good to start with a smile and, if possible a simple, one line thank-you coupled with a short joke. This will immediately relieve your tension and the audience’s. It is also essential to keep your audience engaged during your speech. The best method of doing this is to scan the room slowly and look at the tops of everyone’s heads. The audience will feel you are focusing on all of them but you will not have the distraction of eye contact.

Control your expressions

If you are passionate about your subject matter, let it show! The audience is there because they are interested and your passion will show to them that you know your subject and you enjoy it. This will improve their focus and will allow you to channel your nervous energy into a positive part of your speech.

Mistakes are inevitable. Use sarcasm or humor to mask them

These are inevitable, you are only human! This is not something to worry about. Making a mistake shows that you are human and this will help your audience to connect. Do not panic about the mistake, either carry on as though it never happened or have a joke pre-prepared to ease the situation. The audience will realize that you are able to laugh at yourself and they will relax.

Keep things simple and to the point

Your speech must be put at a level where your audience will be able to understand the subject and relate to it. The actual level will depend upon your audience and the subject. For this reason, it is essential to know your audiences before you prepare a speech and to know your venue. Both of these factors can work for you if you are aware of them.

Don’t allow the audience to intimidate you. Be open to their questions and if you don’t know an answer ask for their assistance. Come up with a solution together; allow them to participate and you have greater chances of gauging their attention and keeping them interested in whatever you have to say.


By Paul Trevino and!

Contributor: Paul Trevino

Published here on: 19-Jul-15

Classification: Communication


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