Public Speaking Tips for Overcoming Fear

Since this month is speech month here at Communication FUNdamentals, I thought I'd re-post an article I wrote a while back.  So many of you have emailed in to say how intimidating public speaking is.  Here is JoJo's Rules for Overcoming Public Speaking Fear: Public Speaking Tips for Overcoming Fear By JoJo Tabares Public speaking is the number one fear in America-even ahead of DEATH. People make all kinds of excuses for not taking an opportunity to show others what they have to offer whether it be in a large, formal setting, an intimate gathering or just speaking up for what they believe in. Studies show that those who like making speeches are more successful and make more money. Here are a few tips that can make all the difference in overcoming fear before a presentation:
  1. Know your topic well! Do your research. Get your facts straight. The more you are familiar with what you are going to say, the more comfortable you will feel and the easier it will be to get up in front of others and deliver your message.
  2. Practice until you are comfortable. The more familiar you are with the flow and content of your presentation, the more comfortable you will feel. The less you have to worry about when you make a speech, the more comfortable you will be. Make sure to practice your presentation fully by including your props or videos in your practice sessions. If you don't, you may be flustered when a prop isn't as easily handled during the presentation as you thought it would be.
  3. Know your audience. Try to get some information about your audience so that you know how to tailor your message. Are you speaking to all women? Do they have young children? How does that impact your message? This can avoid the blank stares you may receive if you talk over their heads or address an issue they don't deal with. It can also avoid the proverbial "sticking your foot in your mouth".
  4. Try to go to the room where you will be speaking ahead of time and get a feel for it. Based on the size of the room and whether or not you will have a microphone, think about how loud you will need to be in order to be heard. Look for any electrical outlets and make sure they are where you will need them. Will there be enough room for everything you are bringing with you? Look to see if you will have a podium or place to put down your notes or props.
  5. Remember that an audience is usually pulling for a speaker to do well mostly because they too have a fear of public speaking and they are just glad it isn't them up there! They want you to present well. More than likely they are very eager to hear what you have to say!
  6. If you make a mistake- just move on. Everyone makes mistakes so expect mistakes to happen, but it is your reaction that makes the difference. Your audience doesn't expect you to be slick or perfect. They only ask that you be genuine. If you give the wrong statistic, if the video machine doesn't work, if you trip...just move on. Making a big deal out of it only magnifies the mistake and communicates that you are inexperienced. You can even make a joke out of it. "I guess I didn't put enough glue on my fingers this morning!"
  7. Remember that God gave you something unique to say...let others hear it!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer.  Her articles appear in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula.  You can also find JoJo on web sites such as and  For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit For more articles on communication skills and public speaking, visit our JoJo's Articles page!


  • Dana Wilson

    Thanks for your post and encouragement, JoJo! I used to be in a corporate job where I had to speak regularly, but after being home and homeschooling for a looooong time the thought of public speaking is a little unsettling, to say the least!

    Fortunately, most of the speaking I regularly is in a one to one or small group setting. Much less intimidating. =)

  • jojosblog

    Candace, speaking only gets easier each time you do it. I know you did well, but it will continue to become so comfortable that you could do it almost without preparation!

  • Candace

    Perfect timing for me! I taught my first seminar for the Ultimate Homeschool Expo this past fall, and have several more lined up for this year – plus a LIVE workshop at a homeschool convention.

    Given that my business deals with young children, I kinda have a ‘fun’ topic to speak on – but yes, it can be a little bit scary.

  • jojosblog

    Exactly what I am always saying, Cindy! It’s not the formal public speeches we make in front of crowds that affect most of our day to day lives, it’s the conversations (informal impromptu speeches) we have with family and friends!

  • Cindy Holman

    I feel like I make impromptu speeches every day with my students – does that count? Haha! Probably as a wife and mom too!

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