Fear of public speaking?—just ask Google (and us!)

By Emma Serlin
September 25, 2013

Isn’t it amazing how in a thirty second advert you can be inspired and motivated and come out the other side with a smile on your face? I was thinking this about the latest Google Nexus ad of all things, which, despite its main aim being about selling nexus tablets (I assume) is about a matter very close to my heart:



Namely, public speaking, and lack of confidence when public speaking. The ad shows a teenager terrified of the speech he has to give, and then doing some google research, finding inspiring speakers, modelling them, and doing his speech with such confidence and panache that he pretty much gets himself a date.

So – three things there, that I think the advertising lot got just right. Firstly, public speaking can be scary, really scary, we all know that—at least most of us do. Secondly, it is absolutely 100% possible to learn the skills to be a good public speaker. And thirdly, if you do get it right, good speaking has the power not only to change hearts and minds, but also to have a great effect on your love life.

So many of our clients at London Speech Workshop come to us with fear or low confidence when doing presentations or public speaking. Many think communication is just something they are not good at. But what we do straight off is demystify the process. Speaking brilliantly is not something you have to be born with, and speaking badly, i.e. mumbling or monotone, is not some curse that an evil witch has put on you. No. It’s simply a case of not moving your muscles enough. So the demystifying is handing over very simple tools that just make it simple. And it’s so amazing when people start to use the tools, and then have that special ‘eureka!’ moment of ‘hey I can do this’.

So, to return to the ad: if you have fear of public speaking, take some tips from it, (via me). First, Google some great speeches and find ones that you like. Then model them. Literally, take on the voice, use the hand gestures, and feel what it’s like to be a great speaker. This has the effect of creating muscle memory, getting your body and neural networking to do a rehearsal, so to speak. When you’ve done this once (or twice or even more) your physiology starts to get used to it, and takes the intimidation factor out of it. It starts to build this stuff into your repertoire—in short, it becomes yours. No wonder then, we love the adage, practice makes perfect. Good luck!

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