Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Shrink the Fear of Speaking - 3 Smaller Tips That Give Big Results

By Pamela Haack

Trembling hands, dry mouth, cold sweat... have you ever felt this way when speaking to a group of strangers? If so, than you've probably looked for ways to overcome your fear. While some tips and suggestions are helpful, others, such as, "image a happy place", are just plain corny. How about a "smaller" approach to kicking your speaking fear that can actually produce big results?.

Are you ready? Here it is.

Practice with a smaller audience. No, I don't mean an audience of fewer people, I mean a smaller audience, as in children! If you are a teacher now, speaking to groups of adults outside of your classroom is just one step away. But if you've never taught, here are 3 ways you can hone your speaking skills on an audience of youngsters:

* Read aloud to children at a public library or elementary school. Reading aloud is an excellent way to get used to many sets of eyes focused on you, and it's also a ideal setting in which to practice voice intonation and inflection!

* Teach a project, game or activity to children in your own child's classroom. Schools are eager to sign up parent volunteers, and learning how to be clear and specific when you are explaining something is one of the most important (and apparently best kept secrets!) of being an effective speaker.

* Volunteer to assist with a children's theater production. This provides a double benefit for you as a speaker. You might coordinate and direct the children involved (good practice with lots of sets of eyes on you), plus you'll learn drama tips that are, in my opinion, the frosting on the cake of a great speaker!

A common reason people feel fear when they speak to a group of strangers is that they are overly self conscious. Children (particularly young children!) tend to be naturally forgiving and often openly supportive of you. You will quickly find yourself focusing more on them, and less on yourself, and that's the first huge step into burying the fear of speaking for good!

Pamela Haack
Founder and Creative Director
Dream Academy
for Women

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