To be a good public speaker, never give up. Face your fear. “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” ~ James Baldwin
In this book, I share my story, from a variety of angles, of how I face my fear of public speaking. I don’t preach, I don’t lay out a magic formula. I simply share different ways I deal with public speaking, from a variety of viewpoints, stories, activities, some old, some new.
I study people, I do what ancient speakers did to train themselves, like Demosthenes, an ancient Greek lawyer from Athens who was often humiliated and made fun of due to a speech impediment before becoming a much admired public speaker. And then who can forget England’s King George, a man with a stammer and a nation to lead. To lead a nation, in wartime, you must speak to your people – in public – in spite of your speech impediment, despite the stammer, despite the fear.
I share people and stories and activities that helped me. I am convinced you will be helped, there is something here that will aid you in overcoming your fear. At the very least, by knowing my experience, you will know that public speaking fear is normal, and using the information that helped me, begin to search for your own way of dealing with your fear.
In fact, it must be your way. You are the one who suffers, and you must help yourself. Know you are not alone. I admit that speaking in public scares me to death, and I am a teacher of English, a leader, a person responsible for helping young people reach their full human potential.
Nonetheless, I am afraid of public speaking, always have been, and always will be. That fear is constant. It is a feeling of sheer terror, when you are about to open your mouth in public, and risk humiliation if what you say, or don’t say, is foolish.
It is the kind of fear that is best resolved by simply, well…just being quiet, literally keeping your mouth closed. Except that doesn’t make the problem go away, it only defers it for another day. It’s like being haunted by a ghost, when the night comes, the phantom returns, the fear of public speaking visits us again.
Most people are afraid of public speaking, many to the point of a phobia. I am afraid of public speaking, just like you are. We worry about being embarrassed, making a fool of ourselves, getting humiliated by something we said. In fact, some people become absolutely terrified, paralysed, by the very thought of being shamed by public speaking.
In fact, many studies have shown that people fear public speaking more than death! This makes sense to me. Death happens only once, with public speaking we die a thousand deaths!
A common myth about the fear of public speaking is that it’s possible to completely eliminate it. In my case, I can’t eliminate it, but I have learned to control it, to make it work for me, not against me. You can too.
Even the most confident public speakers, people like Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Tina Fey, Warren Buffet, Socrates, Aristotle, Demosthenes, Cicero, Thomas Jerome Baker, will all tell you that they feel some degree of anxiety before stepping in front of an audience. Call it stage fright or phobia. Call it fear or simply nervous anticipation.
The fact is, we all have to overcome nervousness when we have to talk in front of a group, large or small. As the stakes get higher, you will feel anxiety. The most common way to try to eliminate your public speaking phobia is by “desensitization”. As with any phobia, you have to put yourself through the anxiety-inducing experience so many times, again and again, until your body stops reacting to it, or until you learn how to make your nervousness and anxiety work in your favor, and not against you.
However, not only is this a long, difficult process, but most people give up before they reap the rewards for their efforts. If I have a secret, again, it’s this: be perseverant. Never give up, and you will become the best public speaker you can be.
What The Reviewers Are Saying
5.0 out of 5 stars Don’t Be SAD, February 6, 2015
By Josh D – Verified Purchase
This review is from: Public Speaking: What Amazing Nonsense You Are Talking! (Kindle Edition)
According to the National Institute of Health, SAD, or Social Anxiety Disorder, is one of the most prevalent anxiety disorders. SAD includes the fear of public speaking. Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the intervention of choice for SAD, and it includes exposure to anxiety-provoking stimuli to induce systematic desensitization and reduce anxiety. That means if you are afraid of public speaking, the cure for your fear is public speaking! You must face your fear to overcome it. The information in this book will help you to understand your fear, to realise that you are not alone, and give you tips that can help you get over your fear of public speaking. I recommend this book highly.
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical and Pragmatic
February 6, 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book explains thoroughly the process of understanding what public speaking is, and how to approach it without fear paralyzing you or crippling you. It provides a lot of practical and pragmatic suggestions to improve your public speaking. I recommend it highly for beginners and even experienced speakers will find it useful too. I give it 5 stars.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Old Ways Are Still Good February 4, 2015
By Vessy Tab
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was very impressed with this book. There is a lot of research that went into this book. Readers are treated to anecdotes, quotes and tips from people like Demosthenes, Cicero, Socrates, James Baldwin, Edgar Allan Poe, Tina Fey and King George too. What all these people have in common is that they are all great public speakers. The book is packed full of so many gems you will be referring to this book again and again in the future. When you compare how Demosthenes and King George worked in similar ways to overcome their public speaking problems, you can see that the old ways are still good. The methods Demosthenes used are still good today. Highly recommended.