How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking

How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking
Image credit: TED

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As you can imagine, former journalist turned TED curator Chris Anderson has seen TED speakers who are all over the spectrum of fear of public speaking. Some are terrified and shaking, and others are just slightly nervous. You may think that if you’re on the terrified end of the spectrum that you’re probably not going to be able to give a good speech.

Anderson is here to tell you you’re wrong.

Anyone can give a talk – and not just a talk, but an amazing talk. Once you learn the tools to connect with the audience, explain your topic and persuade them, you’re halfway there. All you have to do is practice until you’re blue in the face and you’ll have a winner on your hands.

But first, you want to know how to get over your fear of giving the speech in the first place. In his course, Anderson has you covered with few easy steps:

Embrace your fear. Yes, you read that right. Your fear is there to help motivate you to prevent that thing that you’re worried about – say, tripping over the stairs on the way up to the stage or forgetting your next sentence.

Prepare. Practice is required to do just about anything as well as you want to, so why should giving your speech be any different? If you prepare enough, you’ll feel your fear slowly transform into excitement.

Be honest. If you want to tell your audience you’re a bit nervous, or you just need a moment to look at your notes, then go for it. People embrace honest, and even nervous, speakers. There are countless speeches Anderson has watched where the speaker took a moment to let the audience know it was their first time in front of such a big audience, or that they were a bit nervous, and the response is overwhelmingly positive. 

What’s Next?

In Anderson's course, in addition to learning how to overcome your public speaking fear, you’ll get five crucial tools to build your perfect speech:

  1. Connection
  2. Narration
  3. Explanation
  4. Persuasion
  5. Revelation
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