Are you afraid of public speaking?

July 14, 2015

Are you afraid of public speaking?

According to popular surveys, public speaking is one of the things we fear more than death. Certainly, many small business owners experience some degree of fear and anxiety associated with speaking in front of groups of people.

Psychologists now believe that we get nervous not because we feel embarrassed or judged, but because we fear rejection. In ancient times, if we were cast out from our tribe, we would be left all alone to defend ourselves from predators. That would most likely be a death sentence.

In today’s modern world, here are 3 ways you can manage your public speaking nervousness.

Overcome your fear of public speaking

1. Pivot

Turn your nervousness into excitement. A recent study found that it’s incredibly difficult to bottle up your anxiety about public speaking. On the other hand, it’s more manageable to recognize your fear and transform it into another emotion, such as passion or delight.

When you tell yourself, “I can’t wait to speak,” instead of “I’m too scared to speak,” you reframe the situation inside your brain. Pivot your fear into a more productive feeling and you will become more confident.

2. Practise

Test the clarity of your message, and build up your tolerance to speaking anxiety, by rehearsing in front of a small group or with your public speaking coach.

If you’re looking for a practise audience, and receiving feedback, try speaking at a local chapter of Toastmasters or in front of your work colleagues. It’s useful to record and watch yourself on video too.

3. Perspective

What you do, is not always who you are. Maintain your self-worth, even you don’t always give a perfect speech. As a human being you always have tremendous value, regardless of your skill as an orator.

Even if you stumble over your words or blank out mid-sentence, it’s not the end of the world. There are always more opportunities in the future.

In fact, audiences are not mind readers and most would not even notice your errors. Keep it in perspective!


Public speaking anxiety is believed to be a natural, prehistoric defense mechanism. But if you pivot, prepare, and keep your perspective, you too, can overcome your fear of public speaking.

Do you have any questions for me? Just leave me a comment below and I promise I’ll respond!


Ron Tsang

Ron Tsang helps entrepreneurs give compelling presentations to clients, employees, and investors. He has empowered his clients to understand and master critical areas of public speaking since 2004. Ron has an MBA from the University of Toronto and an HBA from the University of Waterloo. Find him on Level Up Workshops and folllow @rhtsang.