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To Sam

How to overcome my fear of public speaking?

I always get so nervous and shaky before I have to do or say anything in public, and I don't know why. It got so bad today that I cried even though I only had to speak a few lines. This is getting me down a lot and I spend a lot of time worrying about having to do things in front of people and being embarrassed. Is there anything I can do to stop worrying / overcome my fear?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Speaking in front of others comes naturally to some people, but for a lot of us it can be a nervous experience. There’s not a magic wand to fix this, but anyone can overcome their fear of public speaking if they put their mind to it.

The first thing to do is to ask yourself what it is that’s making you afraid. For most people it’s a fear of failing or of making a mistake and looking bad. We might imagine people judging us and being critical of our performance and this adds a lot of pressure to do well.

One thing to remember is that people are probably not as judgemental as you are imagining. Most of the time we imagine people thinking negative things about us much more than they actually do. If you remember presentations you’ve watched and think about the ones that didn’t go so well, did you change your opinion of that person because it? Probably not. Most people won’t do that for you either.

There may be some people who are judgemental and it might be those people you’re most worried about. The way to handle them is to appear confident, even if you don’t feel it inside. This is much easier said than done, but with some practice anyone can do it. We have some advice about this that you might find useful.

There are some practical things you can do to feel better about speaking in public. Starting with just one thing - like your body language - can go a long way to helping you feel more confident. Focussing on not fidgeting when talking or working on not talking too fast are some examples of small things that can make a big difference. BBC Bitesize has some good techniques for speaking in public.

I hope that helps, thanks for your letter.


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