- Section 1
- Fear Has Held Me Back
- Finding Confidence
- Fear of Failure
- Unable to Communicate
- On Auto Pilot
- Section 2
- Speaking for a Living
- I Will Never Speak in Public
- With Training Wheels
- My Job Was in Jeopardy
- Respect Your Audience
- Section 3
- Celebrities Overcoming Stage Fright
- Comedy Changed My Life
- The Butterflies Are Dancing
- Using Stage Fright to Improve Your Performance
- Building My Hollywood Resume
- Section 4
- Public Speaking Experts
- Speak Up
- Hiding in the Men’s Room
- Public Speaking Education through Toastmasters
- A Toast to Public Speaking
- The Procrastinator’s View on Public Speaking
- Section 5
- When Kids Learn Early
- Oblivious to the Fear
- A Preacher’s Daughter
- Speak Up!
- Section 6
- Non-traditional Treatments for Fear of Public Speaking
- Improving Nutrition Can Help You Overcome Fear
- Hypnotic Intervention
This post is a collection of free excerpts from Shaking Behind the Microphone.
Fear Has Held Me Back
by Jill Vanderwood
Children’s book Author – JillVanderwood.com
I have held many fundraisers featuring my books to earn money for literacy, The Wheelchair Foundation, Hibiscus Children’s Center in Stewart, Florida, and Southwind Sustainable Living Park in Illinois. The most memorable fundraiser was my Leap for Literacy, where I went skydiving to raise funds for the Literacy Action Center in Salt Lake City. After skydiving, I found that my fear of public speaking all but vanished. I could tell myself, “Public speaking really isn’t so scary. I went skydiving from 12,000 feet!”
Fear of Failure
by Laurie Bokuniewicz
author of the blog “Living Life by the Seat of Your Pants”
The way I’ve tried to overcome my fear of public speaking is by practicing during some personal development courses I’ve taken, including the Dale Carnegie course and the Landmark Forum, Advanced Forum, and the Self-expression and Leadership program.
I think I’ve always had a fear of public speaking. I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t afraid. People who knew me in high school ask me how I could dance and do theater (which I haven’t actively participated in for about two decades) and still be afraid to speak in public. It’s because I don’t feel like I’m an expert at anything. On stage in a play or musical, you are “playing” someone else.
Unable to Communicate
by Oscar Carlson
I have always been terrified of public speaking. Because I have Asperger’s, speaking publicly seems all the more daunting.
My first problem is that I am a law student and my career path requires effective communication. If I cannot communicate my ideas, I face poor prospects. Second, because schools have increased public speaking in their curriculum, my grades have been negatively impacted due to grading being based on performance. Lastly, nothing is more frustrating than to feel that you have a lot to say, but being unable to communicate it. I can have an incredibly brilliant idea only to see it ignored or undervalued.
On Auto Pilot
by Becky Blanton
I’m terrified of public speaking, so where was my first speaking opportunity? TED Global 2009 at Oxford University!
I’m so afraid of speaking that I’ve never even watched my own TED video, and it’s been four years! Thousands of others have seen it, but not me. It makes me scared just to look at it!
I’m a ghostwriter. Everything I do is designed to keep me out of the public eye as a speaker. It’s obviously held me back because as a public speaker with TED credentials, I could be making $5,000 a talk and more, but I don’t. I haven’t done anything to overcome the fear, which is odd. I’m a raging extrovert, do well one-on-one, and can talk to anyone, just not in front of people.
Speaking for a Living
I Will Never Speak in Public
by Baron Canon
In college, I hated speaking in public so much that I actually made the vow that I would never get a job where I had to do public speaking.
I’m the head of business development at WestClinTech. I have spent twenty-five years in the financial industry as an accountant, trader, technical analyst, banking and risk software developer, global product manager, and now, I’m in business development. At the beginning of my career, I did no public speaking. Now, I speak at global user conferences in front of 100 to 200 attendees.
With Training Wheels
by Geof White
author of Lemonade Stand Economics
I remember being twenty-seven years old and new to a job where I was the “young punk” salesman. Everyone else was over forty and very experienced. I didn’t know the rest of the staff very well, but I was intimidated by them.
The day before our first sales meeting, my boss said to me, “I want you to show all the other salesmen the report you give me each month. I think they might like to do the same thing.” He must have sensed my hesitation. “Just get up there and explain it. And it might be funny if you wear this hat in the beginning, because you’re the new guy.” He handed me a hard hat with training wheels on the side, complete with a light-up sign that flashed my name. I was justifiably petrified. I’m sure I didn’t sleep the night before. I was a great one-on-one salesman, but I was out of my element standing in front of the whole sales force wearing a stupid hat.
My Job Was in Jeopardy
by Rocky Finseth
CEO Carrara Nevada
I am a lobbyist in Nevada, representing clients in both the healthcare and real estate fields. My job often requires that I speak to my clients in a multitude of settings including small intimate meetings, large membership meetings, and committee and board meetings.
Early on, I was deathly afraid of having to speak to my clients. I didn’t mind the one-on-one encounters or discussing issues or strategy over a meal, but when it came to speaking in public, I had a difficult time. I had to overcome my fear or risk losing my clients, so I learned to handle fear out of necessity.
Today, I am very good at what I do. Occasionally, I still get butterflies before a speaking engagement, but those are few and far between.
Respect Your Audience
by Rabbi Manis Friedman
Rabbi Manis Friedman had fear of public speaking until he attended a speech where the speaker was listening to a question from the crowd and fell asleep standing. He thought to himself, If this guy can be so comfortable up there, then I can do it too. This is just a joke he uses to break the ice, but it’s true.
When I was a teenager, it was part of our school curriculum to visit a local synagogue and give a talk. They wouldn’t take no for an answer, so I had no choice. I was forced to speak in front of the older congregation, and they were not unlearned. It was a challenge for me to offer something that would be interesting and new to them. This was quite nerve-racking. I rehearsed carefully and many times over. After my talk, when people said they understood this complicated subject and were satisfied that I had covered it thoroughly, my fear was over.
Celebrities Overcoming Stage Fright
Comedy Changed My Life
by Dan Nainan
Comedian/Actor/Voiceover Artist/Computer Expert
author of The Best Book on How to Become a Full-Time Stand-up Comedian
I was a senior engineer with Intel Corporation. My job was to travel the world with Chairman Andy Grove, doing technical demonstrations on stage at events, and I was incredibly nervous about speaking on stage. I took a comedy class to get over the fear, and the comedy kind of took off.
Since then, I have performed at the Democratic National Convention, a TED conference, and three presidential inaugural events, meeting many government officials including Hillary Clinton and President Obama.
The Butterflies Are Dancing
by Tony Barker
My name is Tony Barker. I’m a full-time professional musician. I play “cover songs” (familiar radio hits) in bars as my main gig, and it’s as comfortable as my underwear. I’ve been honored to play in fairly respected theaters and listening rooms where my own songs are the focus, and the butterflies dancing in my stomach feel like life itself. Until recently, recording my music in any form was a panic-inducing nightmare; now it merely frightens me. An experienced business manager and black belt in Kajukembo, I still consider stage fright a worthy adversary.
Using Stage Fright to Improve Your Performance
by Juan María Solare
pianist – JuanMariaSolare.com
Juan María Solare (born in Buenos Aires in 1966) is a pianist, composer, and arranger, at home in the worlds of both tango and contemporary classical music. His singular style represents a synthesis of north and south, classical and popular, wit and melancholy, performance and composition. The audience at his concerts is fascinated by his warmth and quality. He teaches composition and arrangement for school education at the Hochschule für Künste (University of the Arts) in Bremen (Germany) and leads the tango ensemble Orquesta No Típica at the University of Bremen (www.tango.uni-bremen.de). He is the editor of four tango albums for the publishing house Ricordi Munich. Twelve CDs by different performers include at least one piece by Juan María Solare.
Building My Hollywood Resume
by David Barckhoff- Screen Actors Guild Nominated Actor
Producer, Director, Screenwriter
Military & Public Safety Technical Advisor
Producer at Bear Cub Productions
In the last thirty years, I have acted in over forty-five movies, ten TV shows, and eight commercials. When I was younger, I suffered from stage fright. Now I’m a SAG-nominated actor. I have done promotional work for Pepsi, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, Verizon Wireless, the VA Department of Health/EMS, Sunoco, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Air Force/Civil Air Patrol.
In recent years, I have added directing, screenwriting, producer, public safety & military technical advisor, and production assistant to my résumé. I’ve also worked with the art department and as an assistant stunt coordinator for film and TV. I co-wrote three TV episodes and one movie which have been produced, along with four other unproduced screenplays. As the producer for Bear Cub Productions, I am currently working on the movie Struggle to the Light about Winston Churchill.
Public Speaking Experts
by Jan Fox
Author of Get Yourself on TV and What to do When You Get There – FoxTalks.com
I’m a public speaking coach and I have worked with many people who suffer from this fear. I have been on television as a field reporter and a news anchor for thirty years. I started my television career with absolutely no training at the ABC station in Boston, then went to the NBC station in Maine and ended my television career with twenty years in Washington, D.C. I have won numerous awards and interviewed three presidents during my time on the air. As a speaking coach, I have witnessed many great turnarounds. They all happened just by a few “speak tweaks”—not major overhauls. I love this work! I see my clients’ skin stretch before my very eyes and they can’t believe it!
Hiding in the Men’s Room
by Mark Grimm
Mark Grimm’s Website
I used to hide in the men’s room when it was my turn to speak. Now I get paid to speak. I wrote a book, Everyone Can Be a Dynamic Speaker: Yes, I Mean You, to make the point that everybody can do it. First, I teach speakers to uncover their fears and learn to handle them. Next, they learn to focus on the audience. Most people think, What am I going to say? What am I going to wear? When the real issue is, what does the audience want to hear? Am I going to deliver that value to them? At the end of my speeches, I ask the audience, “Did you get that value?” If not, I’m a lousy speaker. This book is also a personal story of my own journey from nervous presenter to professional speaker. The path outlined in the book is the one I took myself.
Public Speaking Education through Toastmasters
by Norm Bour
Community Development, Media relations, PR,
author of Success at Any Age: The Baby Boomer’s (and Gen Y)
Guide to Becoming an Overnight Success
“combining the Brilliance of the Gen Ys with the Wisdom of the Boomers”
I started Toastmasters in 1981 and stayed with it for about fifteen years before I went MIA. I just got back to the club and I found that my public speaking “muscles” were out of shape. I overcame my fear by just plain doing it, and the results of my hard work landed me many public presentations, along with having my own (broadcast) radio show for seven years.
I think most people tend to be very shy about speaking before a crowd. It’s usually because of our lack of self-esteem and lack of confidence about what we have to say. Some people outgrow it as they become more comfortable with themselves and their skill set.
A Toast to Public Speaking
by Barry Maher
Author of Filling the Glass; No Lie: Truth is the Ultimate Sales Tool; and The One-Minute Manager
I’m a public speaker who used to have an almost incapacitating fear of public speaking. The last thing I could ever have imagined was that I would end up speaking for a living. But after a couple of minor disasters and a lot of work, now I like nothing better than being in front of thousands of people. I do keynotes, workshops, communication, leadership, and sales management training. I’ve spoken to groups from one end of the alphabet, AT&T, to the other end of the alphabet, Wells Fargo, and everything in between.
The Procrastinator’s View on Public Speaking
by Richard Nikoley
blog author at freetheanimal.com
Author of Free the Animal: Lose Weight and Fat with the Paleo Diet
I have a pretty popular blog that gets a couple hundred thousand views per month and I have written a book.
Over the years, I’ve done a few public speaking gigs and it’s a love/hate, thrilling/scary thing. I have a pretty unique method of preparation which is that I don’t over-prepare. Most preparation is done in the few hours leading up to the talk, a dry run-through, and then I give the talk. I hope to give you what I think may be a unique perspective on public speaking.
When Kids Learn Early
Oblivious to the Fear
by Geof White
author of Lemonade Stand Economics
A friend of mine put a post on Facebook, looking for someone to coach her son in public speaking. He was in the fifth grade and he won an essay contest. The winners had to read their winning piece in front of 700 people. She said he really didn’t seem worried. She was trying to get him to practice but he wouldn’t.
A Preacher’s Daughter
by Jan Fox
Public Speaking Coach and founder of Fox Talks
My daddy was a street-corner preacher. He was a fire-and-brimstone evangelist without a specific congregation. He preached at lots of churches as well as nursing homes and jails.
I learned to play the accordion and sing church songs. My daddy took me with him to his various ministries. Before playing a hymn, I told the congregation what the song meant to me.
By Sandra Sheerin
Public Speaking Ireland “Find Your Own Style of Delivery”
I am originally from Dublin, Ireland. However, I moved to Pennsylvania at the age of ten, therefore going through the U.S. education system. I personally found it to be a rewarding and enlightening experience, given that I had previously gone to an all-girls Catholic school in Dublin, where the motto is that “Children should be seen and not heard.” Actually, that applied to all social situations, not just school. U.S. schools encourage children and young adults to speak their minds and voice their opinions. Consequently, we had an amazing speech coach in our high school, where speech class was as regular as math or history. Ten years later, I returned to Ireland to find that this is not the case within their public education system. There is no such thing as learning how to communicate or speak publicly; the motto has remained the same.
Non-traditional Treatments for Fear of Public Speaking
Improving Nutrition Can Help You Overcome Fear
by Trudy Scott
Food Mood Expert and Certified Nutritionist
author of The Anti-anxiety Food Solution: How the Foods You Eat Can Help You Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood, and End Cravings (New Harbinger, June 2011)
Past president of National Association of Nutrition Professionals and now special advisor to the board of directors
I was afraid of public speaking and had terrible social anxiety and panic attacks. Now I travel and speak nationally to mental health practitioners on food and mood, sharing all the recent research and how-to steps for implementing changes. I’m no longer fearful, nervous, or shaky in social settings.
These are the steps I took to overcome fear and anxiety: (1) I used gluten elimination and the amazing healing power of food and nutrients to completely eliminate my anxiety. (2) I joined Toastmasters and loved every minute of it. I even participated in some city Table Topics competitions.
As a Food-Mood expert and nutritionist, I educate people about real, whole foods and finding natural solutions for anxiety, stress, depression, and other mood problems. I am so passionate about what I do because I used to suffer myself.
by William Wood, Certified Hypnotist
Northern Utah Hypnosis Center
I am a certified Hypnotist. My mission is to help people transform their personal lives and to free themselves from the mental and emotional chains of the past. Since beginning my study of hypnosis, I have helped hundreds of clients stop smoking, lose weight, improve sleep, overcome fears, relieve stress, break bad habits, prepare for athletic competitions and performances, increase their income and reach their goals. My treatment for the fear of public speaking has been very successful.
I work by appointment in my Ogden and Salt Lake City, Utah offices, or via telephone or Skype teleconferencing. I have helped clients all over the United States and the world achieve their goals.
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