Conquer Speaking Anxiety

Mar 31, 2023
Christine pointing at a picture of dogs with the caption,

We all know that dogs can sense fear, but did you know that people can too?

"Speaking in public is an essential part of daily life, especially for business owners," someone wrote in response to a Facebook comment I made recently.

Despite this, Glossophobia, or public speaking fear, ranks as the number one phobia in the US, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health. Even more surprising, younger patients and females may be more susceptible to this fear, says Jeffrey R. Strawn, associate professor of psychiatry at Cincinnati University.

But what’s the real fear?

Given the choice between speaking in public and doing a bungee jump, which would you choose? 

Most advice on managing speaking fear revolves around, effective, yet somewhat typical techniques like preparation, practice, and breathing exercises.

Here are five less common ways to conquer your fear:

1. Embrace "Nervoucitement":

Fear and excitement fire in the same region of the brain. Both trigger the same energetic response, or feeling, in the body. Acknowledge your fear and ask yourself what you're truly afraid of. Then, reconstruct the reality and pre-empt any questions or challenges you may face. Channel the energy of fear into enthusiasm.

2. Laugh with yourself:

We all know the saying, "Laughter is the best medicine". It's true! When fear hits, laughter can disarm it by releasing endorphins, reducing stress hormones, balancing heart rate and blood pressure, and aiding muscle relaxation. Laughing at yourself can also help you enjoy sharing your knowledge.

3. Distance yourself from the fear:

Creating distance from fear and negative self-talk can help you detach and manage your emotions with more awareness. Speak to yourself in the third person or consider events from another's perspective. Ask yourself, "what would I advise my best friend right now?"

4. Tighten it up & rock it out!

Relaxation exercises, like laughter, can redirect our thinking and blood flow. Tighten up your body, starting from your toes and working your way up. Focus on the tightening, and then let it all go on a big exhale. Doing this also helps manage the shakes and evens out the flow of blood to your limbs.

5. 5-4-3-2-1

  1. Not the Mel Robbins way, the relaxation way! This exercise takes the brain out of the "narrative" network and into the "direct experience" network. It doesn't take more than a minute, and you can do it anywhere. It's an excellent one for busy minds that find it difficult to stop during busy days. I learned it during my recent conversation coaching skills training with the NeuroLeadership Institute.

Take a deep breath.

  • What five things can you see?
  • What four things can you hear?
  • What three things can you smell?
  • What two things can you touch?
  • Closing your eyes, looking inside, what one thing can you feel?

To sit back, relax and enjoy listening to me dig deeper on these techniques - and the exercise, listen to this week's episode of the Connected Communication podcast, also on Spotify. Allow me to lull you with dulcet Irish tones that will keep you engaged and entertained throughout each episode.


Are you looking to improve your English pronunciation, public speaking skills, and conquer your fear of speaking in front of others? Look no further. Early enrolment is open for my new coaching programme. Nobody that I can find offers the same unique blend of co-training...nor lifetime access to a fully-loaded on-demand training platform alongside it!

Learn more today and keep those speaking fears at bay!

When you're ready to unleash

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