Get Over Your Fear of Public Speaking

By Cathy Sobocan, M.A.

It takes time and practice to get over a fear of any kind, so let’s begin with a simple strategy you can use to get over your fear of public speaking. I practiced this during my career as a radio announcer.

Once a month I would meet with my news director for an “air-check.” An air-check is a recorded sampling of on-air work. In my case, I would record several of my newscasts and my news director and I would listen to them with discerning ears. We’d discuss what was going well with my performance, and what could be better.

Despite being a professional I didn’t always like listening to my voice, but it always motivated me to improve. This exercise will help you get used to the sound of your voice as an instrument for communication.

Practice these simple techniques every day for ten minutes to get over your fear of public speaking.

Read More Frequently

Read out loud for two minutes. It doesn’t matter what the material is. Don’t worry about how it sounds.

Pretend There is an Audience

Now pretend there is a small audience in front of you, consisting of two or three people you would feel comfortable talking to. Once again, read the same material out loud, but this time pretend you’re reading to your audience. Make sure they understand what it is you’re saying. Are you clear? Are you rushing through it? Or meaningfully communicating what it is you’re saying? Are you making what you say sound interesting?

Record Your voice

Now give yourself an air-check. Audio record yourself reading the same material and listen back. Determine what could be better, and then try again.