30 Tricks to Overcome Public Speaking Fear
When I was a sophomore in high school, there weren’t too many articles on conquering public speaking fear.
YouTube was barely a thing back then.
My sophomore self lived in ignorance for many years.
I’d see teachers who were great public speakers.
Comedians who could captivate a crowd.
Even a few of my classmates knew how to give a speech.
However, for me, public speaking was a foreign language.
Due to the rise of Web 2.0, nowadays, content is abundant.
With this added content, it becomes easier to have a compass on where to look.
This post is going to give you 30 ways to overcome your public speaking fear.
Some of the tips are going to seem like common sense.
And some of the tips are going to be very unorthodox.
Take what works for you & ditch the rest.
Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking.
Let’s melt away this phobia.
1. View Conversations as Mini Speeches
When you’re a newbie speaker, you will try to look at every audience member.
A part of you may think that not looking at EVERY single audience member will make you come off as rude.
However, that’s not remotely the case.
When you try to look at every member, you end up confusing yourself.
And the audience members get a filtered version of you.
As a newbie, it’s much smarter to just look at one person from the left, middle, and right.
3 people total.
By finding the most engaged members from those sections and talking to them, you kill many birds with one stone.
All the people around those 3 think you’re looking at them!
Now, your eye contact is much stronger.
This basically implies that public speaking is conversations at scale.
So why not view your regular conversations as mini-speeches?
By doing this, you prime the mind to know that you give speeches all the time.
This will melt nerves when you are called to speak to a scaled audience.
2. Replace Speech Anxiety with Speech Excitement
Framing something as anxiety creates nerves.
Something about that word, anxiety… Very draining tone.
Replace anxiety with ‘energy’ or ‘excitement.’
Or something along those lines.
When you feel nervous, say, ‘I’m feeling some speech energy’.
Now the perception favors you.
Even though this word exchange trick feels small, it isn’t.
Tiny changes build up over time homie.
Keep framing things in your favor for a sudden perception shift.
3. Gather Friends
When I was young, I’d end up going to a bunch of family functions called dawats.
This is when we’d go to an uncle & aunt’s house who were hosting a party.
All the kids would go to a room and socialize.
Sometimes, the socializing process happened seamlessly.
Other times, it took a while for the kids to warm up to each other.
To aid the rapport-building process, we’d often play some sort of game.
Charades, Monopoly, or video games.
Games are brilliant for social skills.
Likewise, rather than going to the club every weekend and spending your money…
Call up some friends.
Order food and collect a bunch of topics to put in a hat.
Then have each friend go up and give a funny or educational talk on the topic.
Not only do you build social skills, but you also build public speaking skills as well.
4. Study the History of Public Speaking
Anytime you want to really learn a skill, learn about its history.
I don’t care if it’s cooking, coding, or learning public speaking.
When you learn the history, you deepen your perspective of the topic.
By deepening your perspective, a part of you feels emotionally involved.
Here’s the thing…
Speech anxiety is a strong emotion.
So is curiosity.
High levels of curiosity can outweigh anxiety.
Be very curious in the field of public speaking.
Go on Google or Wikipedia at first, and just type in the phrase, “public speaking.”
Learn about it, click the hyperlinks of additional articles, and learn more.
Here are 2 books I’d recommend.
5. Study History
In tip 4, I told you to study the history of public speaking.
In tip 5, I’m going to tell you to study the subject of history in general.
Michael Crichton once said:
“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is a part of a tree.”
This showed me why public speaking fear is so prevalent in society.
The leaf is confusing itself to be a tree!
In this situation, the leaf’s sense of importance is so high, that it thinks that all the other leaves are thinking about it.
That’s what plants the seeds for speech anxiety.
Being well aware of history from all over the world gives your mind more dimensions to think from.
So now you identify as the tree rather than the leaf.
6. Study the Universe
I told you that there were going to be some tips that seemed out of the norm.
And here it is.
Study the universe.
To understand your significance, you must first be aware of your insignificance.
Learning about the universe allows you to see how small planet earth is in the grand scheme of things.
I actually have a few posters of the universe in my living facility.
I feel more ambitious than ever when I see images of the universe.
You should think about implementing universe imagery in your home to reduce public speaking fear.
7. Be More Curious of People
You don’t learn to be curious.
You are curious.
Now it’s a game of no longer thinking that you know it all.
I always add new content to this blog because I’m learning new dimensions of people every day.
Humans are very intricate creatures.
In my book, Charisma King, I break down how no one has the ‘perfect’ personality.
We all have certain flaws which make us unique.
When you become aware of the flaws.. and realize that flaws are a feature, not a bug…
That’s when you become more curious as a whole.
-Public speaking isn’t you speaking in front of a big scary crowd.
-It’s you speaking in front of people who just happen to be sitting next to each other.
Be more curious of people and you’ll see that their minds are normally thinking about themselves.
8. Study Comedians
When you see a comedian on stage, understand that they had to put in their reps.
Most likely, they were booed a handful of times.
Fought through setbacks.
Yet, they continued to master humorous storytelling.
When you see that comedians aren’t taking themselves so seriously, you can associate a fun emotion with public speaking.
Now you don’t always have to be so serious.
Loosen up homie!
9. Watch Someone Get Booed
I’m a big fan of battle rap.
One of the reasons why is because it is not only a form of public speaking…
But also, an area where you can see certain people become savages.
Battle rappers getting in each other’s faces.
Audience booing the rappers.
Fans turning into foes.
A lot of pressure.
Every now and then, a battle rapper will choke.
When this person chokes, they will not say anything, and the audience will boo more.
‘Why do you want me to see such a depressing scene?’
Mainly because you give your mind a data point.
All too often, what’s causing our public speaking fear is the terror of choking.
We are associating the feeling of death with choking a speech.
However, when we see someone ELSE choke, the fear is mildly reduced.
You slowly realize you were overthinking and it’s not that bad…
The only direction from down is up.
10. Read Fiction Books
This tip is sort of like the universe tip.
It has worked for me.
A science fiction book makes your mind create out of world imagery.
When you envision something so grand, it’s like your mind is doing yoga.
It becomes flexible.
With that flexibility, the fear is reduced.
Not just with public speaking.
You feel bolder in general.
Try it out for yourself.
11. Make Practice Sessions Intense
I used to be guilty of half-assing my public speaking practice sessions.
Chilling a lot.
I got a wake-up call in one Toastmasters competition where I was supposed to speak in a library.
This library was cold as shit!!!
I could barely concentrate on the speech.
It reminded me how I should have taken the practice sessions more seriously.
A flaw was discovered.
Nowadays, when I practice a speech, I turn down the AC all the way.
My teeth chatters.
All good, it’s just preparing me for glory.
Create your own personal hell, and then begin practicing.
12. Have an Abundance Mindset Regarding Public Speaking
Imagine there is a boy named Jim who likes this girl named Susie.
Day in and day out, he daydreams about Susie.
He doesn’t talk to a single other girl.
In Jim’s world, only Susie exists.
One day, he works up the courage to talk to Susie.
His heart is beating through the roof and he’s feeling a ton of anxiety.
Once he approaches Susie, he freezes. Doesn’t say a word.
Susie looks at him like a creep then waves him goodbye.
Jim is crushed.
Do you think Jim would have behaved this way if he had an abundance mindset towards women?
He should have not made Susie the star of his life.
There are plenty of women and plenty of conversation opportunities.
Likewise, with speeches, always know that there can be another speech down the line.
13. Negative Visualization
There was a point in my life when I was a part of a Toastmasters club that was hosted in an iHop.
What a strange location to have the meeting.
At first, things weren’t too bad.
Customers were too busy eating to notice the speakers speaking in the corner.
One day, as I’m about to give my speech, this waiter drops a dish.
The plate shatters.
And a baby starts crying.
I could hear this loud baby crying nonstop as I was trying to give my speech.
This rattled me a little.
I found it difficult to focus.
Random stuff like this happens all the time.
If you have good concentration skills, then practice negative visualization.
Envision something going wrong in your speech, and you rising above anyways.
This is an advanced move.
I recommend you don’t attempt negative visualization unless you have great concentration skills.
Otherwise, you’ll just give yourself more nerves.
14. Join a Toastmasters
Guests can go to Toastmasters for free.
They can have a few mini-speech opportunities.
Like standing up and introducing themselves, participating in Table Topics (impromptu speech section), and closing thoughts on how they viewed the meeting.
I recommend checking out a few clubs around your area and evaluating your schedule before committing to a club.
You get out what you put in.
Just know that a club can tremendously help you out because you build experience speaking in front of an audience.
15. Start a YouTube Channel
A big part of public speaking is sharing your ideas.
The more you are invested in your ideas, the more you feel like you’re doing the audience a favor vs the other way around.
Staring a YouTube channel allows you to build comfort in expressing yourself.
You learn where you stand on certain issues and find ways to contribute.
Also, after watching yourself on tape, you build more comfort in your body language.
By seeing yourself in 3rd perspective, you turn yourself into an object.
We see life through the first lens.
So seeing ourselves talking builds a more nuanced approach in body language, building confidence over time.
16. Cultivate a Burning WHY
A strong WHY makes the how and the what easier.
For me, my why regarding public speaking was to stop being shy.
I was losing out on a ton of opportunities for not being able to speak up.
I thought that this setback would haunt my personal and professional life.
So that became my why in learning the skill set of public speaking.
Your why can be different.
But you should aim to have a burning WHY.
It’s very easy to quit, so the stronger your why is, the easier it is to deal with momentary public speaking fears.
17. Learn to Sit with Dark Feelings
A big part of maturity is learning how to sit with dark feelings.
I get it, public speaking fear can cause a lot of tough body sensations.
Rather than reaching for the bottle or turning on the TV…
Now sit with the feelings.
The more familiarity you build with the feelings, the less they dominate you.
Plus, you will realize how therapeutic the sensations are.
The ability to sit with the sensations skyrockets maturity and gives you a sharper understanding of life.
Deal with the pressure like a champ.
18. Invest in Fitness
Having control over your body is a beautiful gift.
One that is often taken for granted.
I have much respect for people in shape who can explain fitness in simple terms.
That’s because they have knowledge that can benefit mankind.
Learn from these people.
Learn basic workouts to be strong and flexible.
Understand some basics regarding nutrition.
Public speaking requires a holistic view of life.
A person who is unhealthy will feel a lot of nerves on autopilot.
Imagine how they feel when they have a high-pressure speech coming up?
So, maintain a clean & healthy life.
This allows you to deal with the feelings in a creative way that leads to practical output.
19. Invest in Impromptu Speaking
Speaking off the cuff is also known as impromptu speaking.
This is the type of talking without any form of preparation.
Society has been brainwashed into thinking that the only way to give a speech is through the planned method.
If I were to tell you to give a speech regarding your passions, you wouldn’t need to plan.
When you talk to your best friend, you don’t need to plan what to say.
Some of your best content comes when you are speaking off the cuff.
However, there are tons of mental roadblocks making you think formal speaking is the only way to go.
Find topics that interest you and some completely random topics.
Then talk about it.
It can be for 1 minute. It can be for 10 minutes.
The only rule is that you don’t plan at ALL.
20. Learn How the Human Mind Works
If you want to learn more about the universe, then learn about the mind.
If you want to learn more about the mind, then learn about the universe.
Only an idiot thinks they have all the answers regarding the mind.
A winner knows that the mind is something that can be learned for life.
One great time to learn about the mind is during very nerve-wracking moments.
Sort of like public speaking fear.
When you are feeling fear, just gently observe your mind.
It goes where it goes.
You are not the thoughts.
You are the observer of the thoughts.
This observation process will give you a Ph.D. on the mind.
Take that to the bank.
21. Approach Public Speaking like an Athlete
Since public speaking is a game of ideas, it can sometimes get confusing.
Humans have the tendency to undermine what they can’t see.
Ideas are invisible.
So is the voice that is used to express those ideas.
That’s why having an athlete mindset in regard to the speech gives you structure.
You can think of yourself as a speech athlete.
Simply by framing yourself like that, you can think of the nerves as normal.
Imagine when you’re watching a sports game.
A basketball team that is going on game 7 in the Finals.
It’s obvious that they are feeling some nerves.
It’s normal because they are challenging themselves.
Likewise, when you feel the nerves, you’re just challenging yourself.
Like a superstar athlete who is about to get their championship ring.
22. Others Are Not Thinking About You
You ever seen someone trip and fall?
Pretty embarrassing for them, right?
Did you think about them all day?
‘Because I got others thing to do.’
Similarly, others have things to do as well.
They don’t have the time to think about you all day.
Even if you make the biggest error, the audience members will not be thinking about you all day, unless:
- They are in love with you.
- You did something to directly harm them mentally/physically.
I doubt they are in love with you. No offense.
And I doubt you’re so mean to abuse someone.
So fall back, they ain’t thinking about you like that!
23. Kill Fear with Empathy
It’s impossible to fear someone when you see yourself in them.
That’s pretty much what empathy is.
When you can see yourself in others and vice versa.
What happens is that with speech anxiety, we act like we are the only ones with problems.
Completely forgetting that these audience members have their own problems too.
Jake just totaled his car 2 weeks ago and is now driving a shitty rent a car.
Jamie’s boyfriend dumped her.
Claire just got fired.
Humanize the audience.
Give your speech anxiety to them.
This helps you humanize them even more.
Now be the speaker who pulls them out of the darkness.
Frame yourself as the high valued person.
Which brings me to the next tip…
24. You’re the One doing them a Favor
Public speaking fear is created when you act like the audience is doing you a favor.
You are the one doing them a favor.
In order to graduate to this mindset, you need to become value-focused.
Because your mind will be like, ‘and how exactly am I doing them a favor?’
To answer this question, you need to give a value-added response.
Such as, ‘well, I’m the one educating them on this in-demand topic. Just imagine the practical benefits they will get from applying my knowledge. To make sure they apply my knowledge, I’m going to make my speech extra simple to understand!’
This sort of thinking will make it seem like you’re giving the audience 100$ bills.
Rather than begging them for some money like a loser.
You got the bills.
Now spread it champ.
25. Dress Up
Just like body language influences psychology…so does dressing up.
You feel very different wearing a mustard-stained t-shirt vs a custom-fit suit.
This is one of the simplest ways to deal with public speaking fear.
Still, many people are going to blow it.
They are not going to put any thought behind what they wear to their speech.
Heck, they may actually wear that mustard-stained t-shirt to the speech!
Take your clothes seriously.
Even if you do fumble, the audience will be more forgiving.
Humans are visual creatures.
When they see that you took the effort to dress up, often, they won’t even notice when you mess up.
26. Invest in a Projector
A projector can be a great investment if your public speaking fear is high.
Get a projector.
Pull up an image of a crowd.
Then speak to the audience.
Even though your conscious mind knows that the audience is not real.
Your subconscious mind is being fooled.
This allows you to practice eye contact and create a virtual simulation.
Here is a great projector to invest in.
27. Get Your Practice Done Very Early
Over practicing is a thing.
Practicing too much will lead you to worsen your public speaking fear.
Instead, aim to get done a day or 2 before.
‘How do I know when I’m done practicing?’
When you can get through your speech 5 times without fumbling.
By getting through your speech, I don’t mean repeating the entire talk verbatim each time.
Instead, I mean that you have the general flow your speech, and you deliver it to your satisfaction.
The goal is to hit the 5 times mark.
Anytime you fumble or stumble, start all the way over.
I don’t care if you’re on the last line of your talk.
If you mess up, start over buddy boiii.
28. Practice a Warm Smile
‘You really want me to practice smiling?’
Smiling is a superpower that many people don’t take seriously enough.
Think about it.
When you smile, you feel good.
Plus, when others see you smile, they feel good.
The mirror neurons release endorphins (feel-good chemicals) in the other person’s brain.
What a superpower.
Spend some time practicing a warm smile in front of the mirror.
Right before you are about to get called on stage, unleash that beautiful smile.
Let the body know that everything is okay.
Indicate to the audience that you’re ready.
29. Avoid Gossiping or Judging too Much
One reason for a lot of public speaking fear is due to projecting.
That’s probably the last thing you wanted to hear.
They are creating a me vs them mindset.
This mindset is far from empathy.
Plus, this mindset starts thinking that others are always judging them.
Although gossiping feels good in the moment, aim to avoid it.
Low ROI act with slow problems which seeps in.
Aim to be an empowering energy instead.
30. Turn Public Speaking into a Game
Rather than view public speaking as this big blob of an event…
View it as a game.
A game with levels.
If someone struggles with public speaking fear, then here’s an example of them creating levels.
Level 1: Study some history of public speaking.
Next, Level 2: Find a nearby Toastmasters club.
Then Level 3: Enter the meeting of a club.
Onto Level 4: Volunteer to give an impromptu speech.
Notice, in this situation, the person passed 3 levels before even having to give a speech.
If this person acknowledges that they passed all those levels, then they approach level 4 with more enthusiasm.
Gamify and conquer.
Vanquish your Public Speaking Fear
So there you have it!
30 ways to overcome your public speaking fear.
Just know this…
Fear is normal.
It’s energy plus a perception.
Most people will take themselves out of the arena.
Step inside the arena.
Only a few will feel the glory of conquering glossophobia.
Public speaking fear is now public speaking excitement.
You have great ideas that you were meant to share.
Now share those ideas and leave your impact on the world.
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