No-Fear Public Speaking

Contributor: Suzanne Riordan. Lesson ID: 13390

Would you love to stand up in front of a big crowd and give a speech? Or would you rather have a tooth pulled? Ever wonder how some people can make it look so easy? Here's your chance to find out!

categories

Interpersonal Skills, Verbal Communication

subject
Life Skills
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

It's estimated that about 75% of the population has glossophobia.

  • Do you?

When asked to stand up and speak before a group of people, do you feel like this:

confident speaker

Or this:

nervous speaker

Glossophobia, as you've probably guessed, is the fear of public speaking.

But you don't have to fall victim to this fear. Get ready to learn some of the secrets of a confident speaker!

Although public speaking usually ranks among people's top fears, it's an important skill for everyone to have, and one that's not too difficult to learn!

In this series of Related Lessons, found in the right-hand sidebar, you will learn how to:

  1. overcome the fear of public speaking
  2. prepare a great speech, and...
  3. deliver a great speech!

This lesson will focus on the challenge and adventure of public speaking.

First, let's look at the fear of getting up in front of a crowd, which is so common.

As you watch the following video, answer these questions:

  1. What is it about speaking in public that scares us so much?
  2. What in our survival instinct makes us feel that way?
  3. What physical changes do people experience when they're nervous about speaking?
  4. What should you do to prepare?

Why Am I Afraid Of Public Speaking More Than Death? from The Infographics Show:

As you learned in the video, preparation is the key to a great speech! So let's talk about preparation first. The more prepared you are, the more confident you'll be!

Prepare Your Mind

Attitude

Start thinking about the speech you're going to deliver, which will be your final assignment in the series.

If you begin to feel any fear or nervousness, turn that energy into a positive. Use it to focus on the challenge and adventure ahead of you. Visualize yourself as a courageous person who is up to this challenge!

man climbing a mountain

Attention

People get nervous about speaking in public because they pay too much attention to themselves:

"People are looking at me. What are they thinking about me? Does my voice sound nervous? Do they like what I'm saying?" etc.

Those thoughts bring self-focus and fear of rejection.

Here's how to turn that around: focus on others. Think about what you have to give to other people.

You have something to say that is meaningful, something you can teach them, something that will help them. You're going to share a great gift: your story, your passion, your wisdom!

girl giving a thumbs up

Authenticity

Be yourself!

People can tell when someone's putting on an act. But when someone is authentic--just being him or herself--it draws an audience in.

Listen as high school student Crystal Robello explains why she wrote a speech about being an introvert.

Being an Introvert is a Good Thing | Crystal Robello | TEDxStMaryCSSchool from TEDx Talks:

Crystal's speech works because:

  1. She has the right attitude. Although she's an introvert who doesn't like to talk a lot, she focused on the challenge of creating and delivering a great speech.
  2. She focuses her attention on the wisdom she has to share. She has a passion to share the value of being an introvert!
  3. She is authentic. She's just being herself, a usually quiet person who has something important to say.

Prepare Your Information

The next lesson will focus on how to write your speech, but for now let's think about the overall structure of the speech.

Theme

Just as you've learned to look for a theme when you read literature, every speech also needs a theme.

Choose your theme wisely. Let it be something that you know through your own experience, as Crystal shared her experience of being an introvert.

Let it be something you're passionate about; something you could talk about for an hour (so you can whittle it down to five big minutes)!

Stories

Make sure you have some stories that go along with your theme. Weave your stories in throughout the speech.

Notice how Crystal talked about how she struggled with coming up with a topic for her speech, while her schoolmates were working away at theirs. She told about the parent-teacher conferences where, every year, her parents heard the exclamation: "You're daughter's very shy!"

Stories paint pictures in peoples' minds, helping them to understand and connect with ideas.

Problem or Question

The audience will engage more in your presentation if they feel like there's a problem that you're going to solve, a question you're going to answer. Your speech should be a process of exploring, a journey to find that answer.

The title of Crystal's speech, Being an Introvert is a Good Thing, does just that. It makes the listener ask, "How can being an introvert be a good thing?" and it makes them interested in hearing the answer!

  • Did Crystal answer that question well?
  • What do you think?

Now that you have some ideas to get you started thinking about your speech, let's look at another young person's speech and see if you can spot what makes it work!

  • Ready?

Move on to the Got It? page!

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