Overcoming Your Fears of Public Speaking

Patricia FrippBy Featured Speaker Patricia Fripp

You’re waiting your turn to make a speech, when suddenly you realize that your stomach is doing strange things and your mind is rapidly going blank. How do you handle this critical time period?

In all of my speaking classes, students ask me how to handle public speaking nervousness, fears, jitters, anxieties – and the physical symptoms these feelings produce. There is no single answer; you must prepare by anticipating your speech mentally, logistically, and physically.

Mentally
Start by understanding that you’ll spend a lot more time preparing than you will speaking. As a general rule, invest three hours of preparation for a half hour speech, a six to one ratio. When you’ve become a highly experienced speaker, you may be able to cut preparation time considerably in some cases, but until then, don’t skimp.

Part of your preparation will be to memorize your opening and closing — three or four sentences each. Even if you cover your key points from notes, knowing your opening and closing by heart lets you start and end fluently, connecting with your audience when you are most nervous.
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