Last Updated on April 1, 2024 by Lorna Barrow


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Fear of public speaking? Who? Me? Yes you!

Picture this:


You’re at the top of your game and you have to present a proposal to  group of decision-makers. Or you have to speak to the media about a crisis in your business. Or you have to deliver a vote of thanks on behalf of the boss at your company’s AGM.


At the very thought of this, your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, your vocal chords start tightening and your thoughts are all over the place. And you haven’t even started to prepare your speech!


All you want to do is run and hide.


What you don’t know, you are suffering from glossophobia – the fear of public speaking. In the worse way.


This used to happen to me years ago and even now as a trained, professional and experienced Public Speaker who have help hundreds overcome their fear of public speaking, I am still embarrassed when I remember those times!


Perhaps you’re wondering…if I’m an Executive, if I own a business, why can’t I just pay somebody to do this for me…you know, outsource this duty…along with the fear…


Of course you can outsource the delivery of your speech but you cannot outsource your fear of public speaking. As a matter of fact, you don’t even want to and here’s why. 


When you have great communication skills, because you have mastered your fear of public speaking, you control the discussions and the debate around you and your small business. When you control these, you also control the outcomes.


This means, in the eyes of your employees, customers, stakeholders and the public, you are a winner. And this shows up on your bottom line!


So your big question by now is: How do I overcome my fear of public speaking?


Sorry to disappoint you but as far as I’m concerned, there really is no such thing as “fear of  public speaking.” 


I know what you’re thinking  right now but please stay with me. Look, here is a simple definition of public speaking:

It is the skill of sharing your thoughts, ideas and convictions, in an orderly manner on a particular topic, to an audience, so as to convince them about or educate them on that topic.


That’s what you do all the time, isn’t it?


So what happens when you stand behind a microphone or in front of an audience that you want to blame on poor old public speaking?


What happens is, first if all, public speaking usually requires you to stand apart from the comfort and the safety of a group. Then you have to speak either with or without a microphone and all eyes are focused on you.


This single activity has tremendous potential for an instant dive in self-confidence and a meteoric rise in thoughts of all your insecurities.


Yep…and this is what you label “fear of public speaking.”


 Did you get it? You really need to understand that it is NOT fear of public speaking that’s the problem.


The real problem is that when you stand up to speak, you feel as though everyone can see your inner fears and deep insecurities. 


This is another form of social anxiety that challenges your confidence and even your self-esteem. And this is why you think you are afraid of public speaking.


But once you get past this, you can begin to address your public speaking fears at a bigger level. You can expose them for what they are, and build your confidence even before you speak. 


It’s really part of your self development And that’s what I want to help you with.


Here is a 3-Step process that I use in coaching and training with my clients and I’m sharing it with you.


It helps them to kick their “fear of public speaking” and comfortably become ready and raring to begin speaking, even before we get to the nuts and bolts of public speaking. 


Now I want it to do the same for you…so here goes…


Step # 1 – Expose and understand your REAL fears

As  a human being, you walk around with many fears which you don’t even think about, because you have developed ways to cope with them, which hide them from the public.


But delivering a speech or presentation makes you feel naked and alone and these fears rush to the surface. As I mentioned before, this is what you label “fear of public speaking”.


After years of helping people become better speakers, here is a partial list of your personal fears. You fear:

  • success 
  • Failure
  • Being judged
  • Rejection
  • Embarrassment
  • Expressing one’s true feelings
  • People’s opinion
  • Criticism
  • And the list goes on


What I want you to do is to identify your own fears. Examine the extent to which  these fears are impacting your desire or requirement to speak in public.


So stop right now…stop reading and go deep inside and write a list of your personal fears. Be as honest as you can because you don’ have to share them with anybody.

Step # 2 –Identify and remove your limiting beliefs

Limiting beliefs are those “yes buts” around your fears which compete with the positive beliefs that you would like to have.


For example, you hear a really great speech and you say to yourself: Hey,  I bet I could be just as good as that!


Immediately a small voice inside says, “yes but... do you know how long she’s been doing that?’ “yes you really thing you could earn a living by speaking? Don’t make me laugh!”


So what can you do?


Get a blank sheet of paper and draw a line down the centre. On the left-hand side, list the positive feelings you’d like to have, or do have, of yourself as a public speaker. E. g: “I have a great voice!” or “I can make a presentation that can win the contract for the company!”


On the right-hand side, list all the limiting beliefs that you now hold which prevent you from making those statements true. Then try to make the connection between your fears, your positive statements and your limiting beliefs.


Now try to remove the limiting beliefs.


What you’re going to do, is find a process that works for you.


It might be meditation or affirmations or good old-fashioned Prayer.


You can find inspiration in the lives of famous people who have overcome low self-esteem.


And if you feel you need professional help, don’t be afraid to seek it.


I can’t stress how important it is to try to remove any limiting beliefs from your thoughts. It’s the fastest way you will soar to new heights in every area of your life!


Step # 3  – Replace the limiting beliefs with positive actions

In this step, you begin to replace your limiting beliefs with some type of deliberate, positive actions.


Again, you may try affirmations. For example: Audiences appreciate me because I care about them. Or, I have valuable information I want to share and people want to hear me.


This replaces your negative self-talk with powerful empowering beliefs that eventually sink into your subconscious mind. This in turn will turnaround you negative thinking about yourself.


But don’t stop there.


As significant part of this process, challenge yourself to grow by giving short talks on subjects you know well to “safe” audiences. This will help you to gauge how your confidence is growing and reduce any thoughts of fear of public speaking.


In addition, you can get some more help improving your speaking skills here. 


Practice these three steps over and over, until you have mastered them and you will soon have people paying big bucks to hear you speak.


Your next “fear of public speaking” step…

So there you have them…3 easy steps to help you overcome your fear of public speaking.


Please act on them because public speaking skills are necessary and helpful in every area of your life.


Now…the public speaking tips in this post might be enough for you to work on your public speaking fears on your own – and that’s great!


But I really want the best for you so if they are not enough, or if you want further help, go on…contact me, I’m waiting on the other side with my sleeves rolled up.


To your public speaking success…

Fear of Public Speaking? Smart People Beat it in 3 Easy Steps

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Lorna Barrow

Lorna Barrow is a Business Breakthrough Specialist, an unfiltered Transformational Speaker, a Writer, a Coach and a self-confessed Small Business Junkie. She recognises that small businesses are unique and when it comes to helping you and your business make that BIG breakthrough, she's all in for you!

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