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Afraid of Public Speaking?
Jerry Cahn, PhD, JD - Trusted Advisor - Coach to Leaders Jerry Cahn, PhD, JD - Trusted Advisor - Coach to Leaders
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: New York , NY
Friday, October 11, 2019


One of the mostcommon fears people have is getting in front of people to perform.  A book was published many years ago offeringan alternative  –  “I’dRather Die Than Give a Speech”  –but not a desirable one.

The real issuewhether  to confront the fear.  What do you really want from life? HelenKeller noted that “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outightexposure; the fearful are caught as often as the bold.”  Peter Drucker, the father of managementtheory , once noted that the greatest risk is taking no risk. The safest planeis one that doesn’t fly; the safest ship is oen that nevr leaves port; butplaying it safes comes with a cost – lost opportunities. “ When I look at myown life, it is those things that I was once most fearful of, which, whenovercme and ultimately mastered, were the greatest conributos to my success andhappiness”.

You can cushion the risk when you take the leap and confront your fears, byworking with supportive people. Toastmasters offers virtually freeopportunities to practice in front of other people (who are also fearful) andstick at it till they feel more confortable.  Most speaking/presentation trainers use of variety of techniques to helppeople overcome it. Google has 90,200,000 entries for “how to overcome the fearof public speaking”; There are many strategies and tactics; find one that worksfor you.  Some focus on your sensitivityto triggers and help you reduce them and re-label them; others focus onshifting focus from themselves to their audience – through eye-contact, immersiveengagement, etc. – so you’re not focused on your own triggers.

Indeed, we tailorthe solutions to each student , with an understanding that each time a littlefear is natural. Barbra Streisand once observed that despite years ofsuccessful entertainment in front of large groups, she still feels anxious forthe first 15 seconds; but by shifting from the”me-to-them” mindset to one of“we’re all here together”it disappears quickly.

Finally, takeadvantage of every opportunity to practice. A colleague recently turned down anopportunity to speak to a dozen executives because he’s not self-confident inlarge groups (where the “enemy” outnumbers me by a lot; I’m fine one-on one”.So we recommended practicing with a large group (e.g., Toastmasters) wherethere were no high-stakes. As a result, he gained greater confidence, and haslearned (through additional practice) how to work through the fear quickly andthen relate to his audience with great results.

Share with us yourstory of how you overcame the fear of public speaking.

President & Managing Director
Presentation Excellence Group
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