Fear of Public Speaking: Worse than Death?

Fear of public speaking is a fear worse than death

I’ll help you get out of that speech…


It’s been said that fear of public speaking is a fear worse than death for some people.

I’m not sure how many people have the fear of public speaking so bad that they would rather die, but many people do consider speaking in front of a group on par with a root canal on the list of their favorite activities.

Nobody is born a good public speaker. As with all fears, fear of public speaking is learned, and what is learned can be unlearned. When someone says “I have a fear of public speaking because I’m not a good speaker” all they are really saying is “I haven’t developed the skills to be an effective speaker.” Becoming comfortable in front of a group is a skill you can learn.

You may someday be called upon to speak to a group, maybe at a wedding or funeral. In today’s business environment, you will almost certainly be required to give reports or presentations to colleagues or clients. If so, consider learning to speak in public as necessary part of your personal and professional development.

If you are someone who gets the fight or flight response (sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, inability to think clearly) when asked to speak to a group, the good news is that you can learn to overcome the fear response and speak comfortably. It doesn’t  have to be  stressful. Many people who once suffered from fear of  public speaking  have gone on to become very good speakers.  Here are some other things to remember:

  •  You don’t have to be a master orator in order to be effective. You just need to be yourself. Don’t try to be or think of yourself as a “public speaker”.
  • The audience is on your side, wanting you to succeed.
  • The chances of you loudly passing gas, fainting, throwing up, totally forgetting what you were going to say or  the audience throwing stuff at you rarely happens and if it does, you can probably make a joke out of it.
  • You don’t need to memorize a lot of information or even impart a lot of information. That’s what notes and handouts  are for.
  • It’s ok to feel a little nervous, that’s natural.

Of course, there are different levels of fear of public speaking. On one end of the spectrum, you might be challenged by social anxiety disorder to the point where even talking to someone one on one is a problem. On the other end, you may feel  fear or nervousness that makes the prospect of public speaking just another stressful thing  in  your life. Either way, if you want some help, click here to contact me.

Tips for dealing with fear of public speaking

  •  Practice but don’t over- prepare. Have an outline for what you are going to say. Put your notes on 3×5 index cards that are numbered in order. Practice saying the words out loud. Practice in front of someone you trust that can give you some feedback is one of the best ways to deal with fear of public speaking. Record yourself to see what vocal tics you might want to work with. Practice in front of a mirror.
  • Don’t be boring. The worst sin you can commit as a speaker is making people wish they were somewhere else. Although there are many situations where one may need to speak, try to craft your message to your audience so that what you tell them has some impact on them.
  • Humor is good. People want to laugh, and when they do, you’ll  feel a lot more comfortable. Just use common sense to avoid offending your audience.
  • Humility is good. Don’t try to come across as an expert if you aren’t. Even if you are, remember, people don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.
  • Make sure you eat something. Diet and your level of anxiety are intimately related. Don’t go in front of a group on an empty stomach or over-caffeinated.
  • Monitor the conversation in your head so that it supports you. It doesn’t help to say things like “I just know I’m going to screw this up.” or “I have so much fear of public speaking!”. Be realistic in your expectations and show this in your language to yourself. “I can do this, it’s only ten minutes.”  or “This is a great opportunity to show my stuff.”
  • Do a little mental preparation before you speak. Psyche yourself up, see yourself doing great, give yourself some positive suggestions.
  • Use EFT to release anxiety.

I help people  let go of the anxiety and  fear of public speaking that keeps them from getting ahead. If you want to excel as a public speaker, there’s a lot of instructional material out there including books, DVDs and audio programs.   Toastmasters is the most well known and respected venue for people to hone their skills, and I highly recommend that you check out your local chapter. Check out Barbara Rocha’s programs as well. If you have a fear of public speaking, you CAN learn to be comfortable whenever you’re called upon to “show your stuff.”


If you want to hear a podcast of this blog with a funny story, go to, episode 32.

Click Here For a Free Guide to Relieve Anxiety


Self Hypnosis Kept Me From Wiping Out

Self hypnosis

Self hypnosis is a valuable tool that is really quite easy to use. Here’s an example of how I used self hypnosis in a very unlikely place.

I was camping out on Lake Mohave one summer with my brothers. One morning the lake was so smooth, we decided to go water skiing.

Now, I’m not the best water skier. I find it difficult to get up on the skis and if I go over a big wave I wipe out and get a lot of water up my nose. Not fun.

One of the more evil brothers must have know that because he suggested “Hey Ted, why don’t you sit in the water at the shore with your skis on and we’ll pull you from the shore?” (Muahahaha!)

You have to understand the dynamics of the testosterone that flows when you get a bunch of gnarly dudes  and boats together. You can’t just say, “Uh, no thanks, guys, I’ll pass” unless you want to be mercilessly heckled for the rest of the trip and beyond. So I said “Sure, sounds good.”

I put on my skis and life vest and sat in the water up to my chest with the tow rope in my hand. While everyone was getting in the boat I pondered my predicament.

If I didn’t get up on my skis the first try, I would be flailing around trying to retrieve my skis and would probably have to swim out to get the rope too. The water was shallow, so they would not want to come back and get me like they would in in the middle of the lake. The would watch with glee as I struggled over and over again futility to prove my water skiing prowess…

STOP! I told myself. What are you doing? You have the skill and knowledge to affect the subconscious mind! Why not use the powerful tool of  self hypnosis?

So I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, like Yoda before he levitates Luke’s ship out of the swamp. (Do, or do not! There is no try!) I relaxed my body and my mind and said “I will now enter a state of self hypnosis for the purpose of a kick-butt water skiing experience.” 

I felt myself going inside, connecting with the possibility that I can do anything I want. I imagined myself getting pulled up on the first try, water skiing on that glorious lake surrounded by beautiful desert mountains, having a great time. I told myself  “I am an expert water skiier” over and over again. I imagined the voices of my companions saying “Wow, that was a good run!”

After 5 minutes of sitting there in the water, I counted myself out of self hypnosis and waited for the moment of truth. “Ready?” someone shouted. “I was born ready!” I yelled back with confidence.

They hit the gas and the boat shot forward. The ski rope went taut. I was pulled up on my skis and skied for a solid 20 minutes. Sun, water, mountains, skimming along on the surface of a lake until my arms got tired. I let go of the rope, and floated there until they came and got me.

As they pulled me into the boat they said “Wow, you skied a long time. That was good.”

“Yeah” , I said. “It was good.” As I ran my hand through my hair, I noticed it wasn’t even wet. Yoda has the force, I have self hypnosis.

Learn to use Self Hypnosis!

I regularly offer my  Self Hypnosis for Success Class at Pasadena City College.  Click here to find out when the next class is!

Even if you don’t water ski, you can use self hypnosis to:

  • Get rid of nervousness and do better on a job interview
  • Get rid of anxiety to speak in public confidently and comfortably
  • Feel less self-conscious and more relaxed in social situations
  • Get rid of stage fright while acting or playing music
  • Perform better in sports
  • Present your product to clients persuasively and confidently
  • Get relief from procrastination, anxiety and fear, and negative thinking.

Put your subconscious mind to work! Click to find when the next class is being offered. 

In Self Hypnosis for Success, you will learn:

  • What hypnosis is and isn’t
  • How to do a hypnotic induction on yourself
  • Crafting suggestions to put into your subconscious mind
  • How to put it all together to reprogram your subconscious mind for success in just a few minutes a day
  • Little known, yet powerful tips and techniques for keeping your mind sharp, powerful and positive!

You’ll receive my Guide to Self Hypnosis and my Self Hypnosis Conditioning CD, which also includes my studio produced “Peaceful Place” relaxation track as an added bonus. In addition, you’ll get handouts at each class containing the material presented. The class is being held at Pasadena City College on September 28th and October 5th and 12th from 9 to 10:30 am.

Click here to see when the next class is being offered and learn to take control of your mind using self hypnosis!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!