Overcoming the fear of public speaking, part II


Tiger holding Hunters at bay by Charles R. Knight

This is the second part of the ROI4Presenter team’s text to empower speakers at online events. While in the first part, we’ve addressed dealing with intrusive thoughts that hinder public speaking, here we provide insights on how to prepare and deliver a presentation confidently.


Strengthen your skills with a certification program

From Physique Populaire – Ceremony by the fire

Behind the captivating oratory of renowned actors, presenters, and speakers lies a journey of dedicated learning. If you frequently engage with audiences and aspire to conquer your fear of public speaking, consider enrolling in a reputable public speaking course.

Through valuable lessons and practical knowledge, you’ll acquire essential skills and gain the confidence to shine. Just as ancient rituals and ceremonies bestowed adulthood upon individuals, a certificate ceremony marks your initiation into a realm of expertise affirmed by respected influencers. Embrace the symbolic power of certification and embark on a transformative path to unleash your hidden capabilities.

Master speaking through extensive rehearsals and friendly feedback

Druid Religious Festival by Henry Tyrrell

There’s no substitute for practice to conquer the fear of public speaking. Rehearsing your presentation allows you to deeply internalize the material, iron out any glitches, and explore various approaches to find the perfect blend. You’ll hone your techniques to automaticity through multiple rehearsals, akin to athletes refining their skills. It cultivates the ability to act instinctively, even in the face of fear, operating at a subconscious level.

Remember, practice is not about mindless memorization. Even playfully improvising with different intonations, replacing scripted lines with “blah, blah, blah,” can foster familiarity and boost confidence. Embrace the mindset that the “you versus the audience” dynamic is neither intimidating nor perilous. Aim to engage with your audience using concise talking points, injecting spontaneity into each interaction.

It’s crucial to simulate real-life conditions as closely as possible. Enlist the support of colleagues, friends, and family members who can assume the role of spectators during your rehearsals.

Here’s a little secret: request your rehearsal audience to respond positively to your performance. Not in an exaggerated manner, but with nods of approval, warm smiles, and positive comments. Why? Beyond refining your speaking skills, it taps into the power of magical thinking.

Consider our distant primitive ancestors who, before embarking on real hunts, conducted symbolic rituals under the guidance of shamans, mimicking the “killing” of animals and birds. Laugh not at their naive beliefs, for these rituals enhanced their hunting success. Regardless of religious sentiments, hunters found it easier to accurately throw spears and shoot arrows at creatures they had already conquered in their minds.

That’s the essence of this enchantment. When our subconscious believes a specific outcome is attainable, we become calmer, and achievement comes effortlessly.


Add humor to lighten the presentation atmosphere.

A Night Lecture on Evolution (“Punch”/Oxford Science Archive)

Injecting humor into your presentation can create a relaxed ambiance for you and your audience. A well-timed joke, a witty remark, a playful cartoon or funny GIF as a slide, or even a quick blitz or quiz can do the trick. Since ancient times, we’ve known the power of humor to dissolve tension within a group, where laughter signifies amusement rather than aggression. Harness this remarkable trait inherited by our human race.

To make jokes effective, remember these three essential rules:
First, ensure the jokes are relevant to the presentation topic. This way, they’ll enhance the audience’s absorption of your ideas. Otherwise, they may divert attention and disrupt the flow of your presentation.

Second, maintain tactfulness in your humor. There’s a distinction between “laughing with someone” and “laughing at someone.”

Third, keep the jokes short and snappy. Even the most hilarious anecdotes that exceed thirty seconds are best left aside. Today’s viewers appreciate concise and dynamic presentations that keep them engaged.


Harness the power of teamwork in presentations.

Charles R. Knight – Mammoth versus Man

A simple yet effective method to conquer various forms of public speaking fear is to divide the presentation among multiple speakers. By sharing the stage, the burden of responsibility is significantly reduced for each individual. Moreover, the presence of colleagues offers a safety net in challenging situations. It’s been observed time and again that people tend to remain calmer and make fewer errors when collaborating in a group, even if the interactions consist of casual banter.

The origins of this phenomenon can be traced back to our primal instincts, intertwined with our other innate responses. Imagine a solitary hunter or gatherer in ancient times. If their arrow missed the target, there was no one to provide a backup shot – not to mention the absence of a companion to watch their back, protecting them from lurking threats like saber-toothed tigers or dreaded wolves. It’s no wonder our ancestors preferred group hunting, just as we find solace in presenting as a cohesive team of speakers.


Not performance but communication.

Louis Figuier – Bronze Age Feast

Have you ever noticed that when you engage in casual conversations with family, friends, acquaintances, or colleagues, you effortlessly shine as the life of the party? But the moment you step up to speak formally, you need help with words, are plagued by robotic intonation, and lose those witty and original qualities that define you. Here’s a (not)surprising revelation: those innate conversational chips are still within you. The only difference is that you’ve switched off the communication mode and switched on the “performance” mode.

Deep within your subconscious lies the conviction that speaking is an entirely different realm where ordinary language falls short. It doesn’t matter where this notion originated, whether from past school experiences or imprinted images from books and movies. What truly matters is that this belief is fundamentally flawed.

You don’t need to perform; you need to communicate. Speak as you’re accustomed to, with a touch of refinement. Of course, it’s essential to adjust your language to avoid profanity and inappropriate jokes.

In our everyday lives, we effortlessly switch between language styles when conversing with different groups—friends, parents, and co-workers. The same principle applies when addressing an audience. There’s no need to don the mask of a motivational speaker or mimic eloquent movie characters. Embrace your authentic self and deliver your message in a style that is uniquely yours.



Before we part ways, there is one final piece of advice to share. Have you noticed how frequently we’ve referred to ancient times when our ancestors donned animal skins and fashioned tools from stone? It serves as a reminder that our fears today are not unique.

They have persisted throughout history, and humanity has found remarkable ways to overcome them. Just imagine the terror our distant ancestors had to conquer within themselves as they stared into the eyes of fearsome predators. Facing an audience during a presentation pales in comparison.

Remember, every fear can be conquered.

Good luck to everyone, successful presentations and high profits!


Source ROI4Presenter Blog

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