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Tame Your Fear of Public Speaking
Frank DiBartolomeo --  Presentation Coach For Technical Professionals Frank DiBartolomeo -- Presentation Coach For Technical Professionals
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Centreville, VA
Sunday, September 18, 2022


“Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.”

– Mark Twain

I was the Toastmaster of the Evening at a recent Open House we had during one of my Burke, Virginia Toastmasters meetings. In talking to our guests at the Open House, I discovered they came to the Open House to see if Toastmasters could help them with their fear of public speaking.

I told them that is the top reason people join Toastmasters Clubs. My purpose here is not to sell Toastmasters; however, if you fear public speaking, Toastmasters can help you tame your fear and even make it work for you.

My guess is you have experienced fear before an audience before. You are perfectly normal. An old saying is, “Make your “butterflies” fly in formation.” In other words, use your fear of public speaking to enhance your presentations.

Below are three ways to lessen your fear of public speaking:

Speak Often

Learning to speak well in public is like other things you have learned in your life.

There are not many universal maxims in the world, but one of them is that everything is hard until it gets easier, whether you are learning to play the guitar, knit, or speak in public. It takes practice over time to do this. The key is to stick with the practice. I’ve been a Toastmaster for over thirty years and am still learning.

I have no idea if you are a beginning, intermediate, or experienced speaker. But I will tell you unequivocally if you don’t speak consistently, no matter what your public speaking experience, you will never become an excellent speaker.

To teach people how to lessen their fear of public speaking, Toastmasters uses gradual desensitization. What is gradual desensitization?

Gradual desensitization is a method where you repeatedly, over a significant time frame, perform an activity that is, at first, hard but gradually becomes easier as you continue to practice the activity.

You must speak and speak often to become an excellent speaker. Whoever said, “There is no free lunch.” was right. Hard work and repeatedly speaking in public is the best and fastest way to improve your public speaking.

So, repeatedly speaking to audiences can reduce your fear of public speaking.

Did you also know that a little fear can improve your public speaking?

A Little Fear Makes You a Better Speaker

It’s true. A little fear can make you a better speaker.

Audiences come to see you speak to learn, to see what they need to emulate as they speak, and to be entertained. Don’t disappoint them!

Think of a speaker who is relaxed during their presentation. Their voice isn’t quivering. They seem to go from one main point to another. However, they also come across as lacking energy. Lack of energy is the bane of every speaker.

However, lack of energy is where a little fear can be your friend.

Think about when you were last fearful of something. You were alert. Your senses were at their peak audience detection capacity. You probably moved around a lot—all good things for a speaker.

Don’t you want to be alert during your presentations, with your senses at their peak audience detection capacity, and fully using your repertoire of gestures and body language to enhance your delivery? Of course you would.

Your fear of public speaking can be channeled into providing you with these opportunities to enhance your presentation.

So now you know that repeatedly speaking to audiences can reduce your fear of public speaking. This same fear can enhance your speaking.

As good as these methods are for reducing your fear of public speaking, practicing your presentation repeatedly doesn’t make your presentation perfect. However, it does make your presentation permanent.

Practice Makes Permanent

Brian Tracy says, “Practice doesn’t make perfect; it makes permanent. The way you practice your presentation is the way you will deliver. You have total control of your practice. Simply keep practicing your presentation until you are satisfied that it is presentable to an audience. But, remember. Your presentation will never be perfect. So don’t try to make it perfect.

Every athlete knows if they keep doing an activity, the activity will become second nature to them. This is because they build what they call “muscle memory” in their bodies.

Just as an athlete builds muscle memory, you can build mental memory with your presentation.

As much as I like the first two methods above for reducing your fear of public speaking, the best way is to practice, Practice, PRACTICE! If you practice enough, your eventual presentation delivery will almost become anti-climactic.

Practicing your delivery repeatedly in front of a mirror, with trusted friends, and with a live audience will give you tremendous confidence in your speaking ability.

Sometimes you may deliver the same presentation several times to different audiences. It is the same presentation to you, but your audience is hearing and seeing it for the first time. Your job as a speaker is to refresh this same presentation with every delivery. The latter audiences will be astounded.

So, to reduce your fear of public speaking, speak often, use your fear to enhance your presentation, and practice, Practice, PRACTICE!

Follow these tips for reducing your fear of public speaking, and you will see a gradual change for the better.

Call to Action

  • Seek out opportunities to speak often

  • Internalize and believe a little fear of public speaking can improve your presentation delivery

  • Practice over and over and over, and you will feel your confidence growing

“I used to be incredibly afraid of public speaking. I started with five people; then I’d speak to 10 people. I made it up to 75 people, up to 100, and now I can speak to a very large group, and it feels similar to speaking to you one-on-one.”

– Robin S. Sharma, self-help writer and leadership speaker

Frank DiBartolomeo is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. He was awarded Toastmasters International’s highest individual award, Distinguished Toastmaster because of his outstanding work in public speaking and leadership.

Frank formed DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI), LLC (www.speakleadandsucceed.com) in 2007. The mission of DCI is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence their colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence. Reach Frank at frank@speakleadandsucceed.com and (703) 509-4424.


Don’t miss Frank DiBartolomeo’s latest book!

“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”

Available now at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Frank DiBartolomeo, Jr.
Title: President
Group: DiBartolomeo Consulting International, LLC
Dateline: Centreville, VA United States
Cell Phone: (703) 509-4424
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