The Best Advice for Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking

As a former speechwriter, publisher, and frequent presenter, I understand what drives many people to buy books about public speaking: Fear. I know because I’ve shared it.

I remember times when I walked up to the podium in front of an audience, and suddenly felt dry mouth, sweaty palms, shaking hands, pounding chest, even my voice ringing in my ears. I’d prepared a slick speech, but not my brain for the inevitable shock of taking the stage.

Anxiety about public speaking is most commonly rooted in our past negative memories and experiences, according to Randolph and Kathleen Verderber’s classic text, The Challenge of Effective Speaking. The authors–emeritus management professors and communications scholars–say that typically people will relive those times in their past when they were criticized, admonished or deemed in some way as unworthy of the center stage. CONTINUE READING

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