How to overcome the five biggest fears of public speaking

May 18, 2012
5 minutes read

Here’s a blog post by guest blogger, Kenny Nguyen, the CEO of Big Fish Presentations.

Why is public speaking the number one fear in America? People fear various forms of exposure and judgment. In this post, we will address the five biggest fears of public speaking and then provide solutions to overcome them..

1. Fear of Rejection

The primary goals of public speaking are to persuade or inform. The best way to overcome the fear of failing and to accomplish these goals is to execute your message without anticipating the audience’s reaction or acceptance. In other words, force yourself to think, “Am I being clear, persuasive and informative,” instead of “Do they like it.”

2. Fear of Boredom

The key to maintaining the audience’s attention is in the quality of your delivery, not just the content. No matter what your topic is, speak with enthusiasm, and vary your tone. Be conversational to keep your audience involved. If you show passion for the subject, your audience will seldom be bored.

3. Fear of Time

Whether facing a crunch for time or trying to fill a large time slot, it is always best to pace yourself with tangible milestones. Organize your speech in a scalable way so that you can adapt to any demand. In other words, break your speech into chunks and know what you can leave out, time gets tight; and have an anecdote or another slide waiting in the wings, in case you end up with extra time. Having a clear direction allows you to navigate easily through your presentation without rambling, and helps you to manage your time on stage.

4. Fear of Expectations

Your speech should reflect your passion, ideas and agenda, not the audience’s preconceived notions. Maintain confidence in your message, and your audience will perceive you as a credible source.

5. Fear of Forgetting

In order to avoid drawing a blank in your speech, you must practice, practice, and practice some more. Repetition of your message will reinforce the concepts, figures and structure of your speech, resulting in fewer gaps in memory.

Setting milestones will not only help you keep track of where you are in your presentation, but make it easy to recover if you forget where you were going with your speech. So if you know you were on a specific milestone and get off track and forget where that was going, you can move right on the next milestone without skipping a beat. This ensures that no matter what happens, you can continue your speech in a clear, sensible manner.

big fish headshot

Kenny Nguyen is the CEO/Founder of Big Fish Presentations, a presentation company that helps clients present themselves and their ideas in a way people will remember. Kenny and his team have also been recently featured in Inc. Magazine as one of the “Coolest College Startups.” His presentation strategies have been featured on popular websites such as TEDx, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo, Business Insider, Mashable, Huffington Post, and the Washington Post.

big fish logo


By Ash Christopher

The information and tips shared on this blog are meant to be used as learning and personal development tools as you launch, run and grow your business. While a good place to start, these articles should not take the place of personalized advice from professionals. As our lawyers would say: “All content on Wave’s blog is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice.” Additionally, Wave is the legal copyright holder of all materials on the blog, and others cannot re-use or publish it without our written consent.

Create your truly free Wave account today.

Let's do this