Q & A

How do I work on my fear of public speaking?


Q: How do I work on my fear of public speaking?

A: Some say if you’re not afraid of speaking in public, you don’t really care about your subject matter.

I disagree. If you speak enough, having practiced enough, you don’t need to be afraid. So I applaud your question.

Start by standing and asking a question during a Q and A session at a live CLE. That’s public speaking.

Make a comment in the next meeting you attend. That’s also public speaking.

Attend ToastMasters to practice speaking with a group of people who are also trying to enhance their presentation skills and overcome the jitters.

Volunteer to speak on a bar association panel or at an event in your workplace.

Video yourself beforehand, watch and listen to yourself over and over to get familiar with what you want to say and how you want to look/sound.

Ask to see the evaluations after the session, to take in the positive feedback and to work on the constructive suggestions from the audience.

Choose a more experienced speaker you admire and see if s/he is willing to mentor you before your next speaking opportunity.

Continue to do all of the above, as often as possible. Notice your progress and continue to chip away at your discomfort as your confidence grows.

This, like anything else, is a process. Keep at it and you’ll make progress.

Kathy Morris