How to overcome your fear of public speaking


Originally published at:


I find mind maps very handy, both for preparing and delivering presentations.


This will do nothing to overcome fear of public speaking. The only cure is practice (although passion and deep knowledge of your subject do help.)


One of the few good things about the otherwise wasted decades I spent in the Mormon church was becoming comfortable (or at least less uncomfortable) with speaking in public at a young age. Looking back now I wish that my parents would have just sent me to Dale Carnegie seminars instead.

One of the worst parts of it was that if you pictured your audience in their underwear to put yourself at ease, it would be that horrible Mormon underwear - and then you’d have confess it to your bishop at the next worthiness (“Tell me how you masturbate”) interview.


Yes, the “picture 'em naked” advice… Worst strategy for job interviews, ever.
Few things would be more disconcerting than being in a room with a couple of naked HR people.


This. Do it a lot for different audiences and after a few dozen presentations nothing will faze you anymore.


I agree. When I was younger, I thought I was afraid of public speaking, until I tried it, and found that, if I’m prepared, I enjoy it very much. Being a youngest child, and wanting attention probably helps.


What about booze and drugs?


By naked do you mean ‘no clothes’ or ‘revealed their true lizard forms’?


Oddly for a relative introvert, I’m a good public speaker. One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard about it, which I pass on regularly to those who fear it, is this: most if not all of the audience is on your side and rooting for you to succeed because no-one except a total arsehole shows up hoping for a bad speech or performance.


That reminds me of a story about a young preacher who got the same advice from his mentor. After the sermon he asked, “well, how did I do?” The older man replied, “Well, not bad, except there were twelve disciples, not ten; there were ten commandments, not twelve; and David slew Goliath, he didn’t ‘kick the shit out of him.’”


No clothes. You’ll seldom find lizard people below VP level, so typically you just have to deal with brainwashed drones.


I tell my more introverted students to look their audience straight in the foreheads, fixing on that spot right between the eyebrows. From any significant distance away your audience will think you’re looking them in the eyes (which of course would be terrifying because OMG soul windows).


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.