How to Get Over Your Fear of Public Speaking

October 13, 2020  •  Marketing Strategy

Public speaking might be a great way to grow your brand, but there’s a downside: you have to speak. In public. In front of an audience.

If this doesn’t intimidate you, kudos! We’ll see you on the next blog post. But if you’re like most people, the thought of standing in front of a room full of people is intimidating.

How do you overcome your fear of public speaking and connect with your audience?

Stop Thinking About It

One of life’s great joys is to teach a child how to ride a bike. It’s a funny skill. Riding a bike is essentially impossible for what can feel like a frustratingly long period of time. Until all of a sudden, it’s not. A switch clicks and suddenly the balance and confidence are there for a lifetime.

There comes a moment in the process in which the mechanics start to fall into place. Up to this point, the parent or guardian has been faithfully holding onto the bike. Now it is time to let go. Even if just for a second, the moment the kid realizes their parent isn’t holding on they look down. They check to see what they’re doing. If their feet are in the right place. They lose their balance.

The parent then advises something along the lines of: “Don’t think about what you’re doing. Just look ahead and keep pedaling.”

As long as the child is focused on the mechanics, the balance won’t develop. But once they look up at what’s ahead of them and let go, they’re off.

If the thought of speaking in public terrifies you, maybe you’re like the kid on the bike, obsessively looking down at your feet. It’s time to look up.

Focus on the Gift

The best way to connect with your audience is to focus on your audience. It seems simple, but imagine what would happen if instead of focusing on yourself and all the different ways you could fail, you focused on the needs of your audience?

This is the shift that turned everything around for Michael Hyatt, founder of Platform University. He began to ask himself:

  • What are my audience’s needs?
  • How do they feel?
  • How can I best serve them?

Over time, Michael’s anxiety over speaking in public disappeared. So can yours.

When you step up to the podium, ask yourself: what are the gifts I want to give those attending this event? Here are the three gifts you can give your audience:

1. The Gift of Clarity. When people come to hear someone speak, regardless of the topic—they are often confused. For example:

  • People come to hear Tony Robbins because they are confused about how to succeed in life.
  • People come to hear Dave Ramsey because they are confused about how to get ahead financially.
  • People come to hear Michael Hyatt because they are confused about how to get noticed in a noisy world.

Your goal is to enlighten their minds. Make the complex simple and provide a framework that dials everything into focus.

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2. The Gift of Courage. When people come to hear someone speak, they are often demoralized and ready to quit. Even if the speaker gives them the knowledge they need, fear may keep them from acting on it. (Never underestimate the power of fear!)

Your goal is to engage their hearts. You must convince them they have what it takes to succeed.

3. The Gift of Commitment. When people come to hear someone speak, they are often stuck and unable to move forward. Even if they have clarity and courage, they will be tempted to hesitate or procrastinate.

Your goal is to move their wills. You must identify what they need to do next and then call them to a specific action.

Next time you have the opportunity to speak publicly and find yourself getting nervous, try refocusing on the needs of your audience. Give them the gifts they need to succeed. It will make a difference. For you and for them.

About John Meese

John leads a team focused on simplifying online marketing for professionals as the Dean of Platform University and lives in Columbia, Tennessee, with his wife and three beautiful children. You won't find him on social media, but you can connect to him personally on his blog: