Why You Fear Public Speaking & How To Work Through It

Why You Fear Public Speaking & How To Work Through It

For over 40 years we have worked with clients who have a fear of public speaking. In our experience, eliminating the fear is not possible. And, believe it or not, it isn’t even desirable. What we give our clients is a way to change the way they think about, and therefore the way they react to fear. We help eliminate the voice in their head that says they can’t do it, by coaching them to identify and develop the skills they already have to become master communicators. Our clients learn not to let fear control them, but rather how to control the fear. The process transforms people, their careers, and their sense of self.

Along the way, the coaches at Ty Boyd Executive Communications & Coaching have become experts in identifying what it is that contributes to the anxiety associated with public speaking. Here is our list:

  • The need to be perfect: If your benchmark is to be perfect, you’ll probably fail every time. Doing your best is an attainable goal, being perfect is not. The goal of your presentation should be to connect with your audience, not the perfection of your speech. Being perfect is the number one contributor to emotionally crippling fear.
  • Forgetting your speech: Your goal is to remember the key points of your presentation, not to memorize it word for word. You are the only one who knows what you are going to say and chances are the audience will not notice if you forget something. Practice. Practice in front of a mirror, practice in front of a friend, practice until you are confident that you know your material and then stop worrying about forgetting something.
  • The need to be the smartest person in the room: Your goal as the presenter is to create a powerful presentation that captivates, connects, and creates action with your audience. There may be people in the audience that may be more knowledgeable about the topic, but they will not have your perspective.
  • Appearing nervous: You may feel your heart beating out of your chest, but if you don’t tell your audience, they can’t see it. Our perceptions about ourselves are not always accurate. We feel nervous, so we think we look it, but the truth is, most of us don’t show our nerves. And confidence and nervousness are not mutually exclusive: you can feel nervous on the inside but still have confidence.
  • Not knowing the answer to a question: You are not expected to know every answer to every question. Admitting that you don’t know an answer is not a sign of failure. Practice by thinking of all the questions that you might be asked, but during your rehearsals also practice saying, “I don’t know, but I will research the question and get back to you.”

If you want to be the most effective communicator that you can be, you need to put your fear to work for you. A lot of energy is generated from fear and fear can actually become your ally. Our courses will help you learn to manage fear and turn it into your most powerful speaking tool.

Whether you’re speaking at a sales conference, giving a wedding toast, talking to a colleague, or having a discussion with your teenage son, there will be a time this week when you will address an audience. It doesn’t matter if you are speaking to one person or one hundred people, there is nothing more exhilarating than to feel that you are in command when speaking. Being able to communicate your worth and persuade your clients, colleagues and kids is one of the most sought-after traits.

At Ty Boyd, we offer an array of courses and coaching opportunities that go beyond simple mechanical instruction; we provide a personal empowerment experience. Our coaches help the novice speaker with the basics of effective communication and help the experienced communicator to become that much more effective.

Nothing gets done in business or in your personal life without communication. If you want your relationships to improve, make it your goal to hone your communication skills. Here are our top ten to focus on.

Our Top 10 Communication Goals:


  1. Listen: Give people your undivided attention. Listening shows that you respect the person and what the person has to say.
  2. Speak up: What you think matters and communication is a two way street. 
  3. Inspire and Motivate: There are countless, informal ways to convey your passion to those around you. This should be done everyday, not just at a sales meeting or a performance review.
  4. Follow up: Stay connected with phone calls, emails and face to face conversations.
  5. Be Genuine: Discover your own communication style, the style that comes most naturally to you, the one that taps into your strengths and that you can then build on.
  6. Address a concern before it becomes an issue: Address it head on – offer a solution, be open to alternatives, and stay positive.
  7. Learn to tell a good story: Research shows that people are 20 times more likely to remember a fact when it’s part of a story. Practice telling positive stories using simple, direct language.
  8. Focus on the audience, not on yourself:  A good communicator discovers what the audience needs and serves that purpose. Think of each talk that you give as a dialogue, not a monologue.
  9. Don’t confuse excellence with perfection: Doing your best is an attainable goal, being perfect, is not. One assures failure, the other, with lots of effort, creates success.
  10. Practice, hone, and always improve: Preparation is a habit of excellence. If you practice, you will be ready. You will be effective. You will succeed as a communicator.

Communication is a powerful tool that gives you the ability to inspire and energize those around you. Make it your goal to always look for ways to sharpen your communication skills!


If you’re serious about advancing your skills and making an investment in yourself, we invite you to our Excellence in Speaking Institute. Classes are back in person and filling up quickly so don’t delay! Visit this page to read feedback from our graduates about their experience.


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