Taking the fear out of public speaking

This guest post was written by Barry Coots outlining how he learned to speak in public.

An effective way to develop public speaking skills is to follow this simple method which is suitable for groups working together or as an individual.

A number of subjects that can be described in a series of simple statements that take just a few minutes to say should be compiled.

For example — The correct way to sharpen a pencil / How to change a car wheel / How to prepare and cook an omelet etc.

The topic is not important as long as the speaker is comfortable with the content and understands the words.

The speaker should be prepared for questions relating to the topic at the end of the talk.

The method is as follows —

All of the talks should be made in a formal setting in a serious manner.

  • Step one is to give a talk lasting just one minute to just one other person.
  • Step two is to give a talk lasting just two minutes to just two people.
  • Step three is to give a talk lasting just four minutes to just four people.
  • Step four is to give a talk lasting just eight minutes to just eight people.
  • Step five is to give a talk lasting just sixteen minutes to just sixteen people.
  • Step six is to give a talk lasting just thirty two minutes to just thirty two people.

The best results are usually from a group all learning to overcome their natural anxiety and fear of public speaking.

In this way each person plays a part as both speaker and audience and fosters respect and empathy within the group.

The time between each of the six steps may be tailored to fit into a weekend or may be spread out over a week or as long as the student may wish and time allows.

A simple progress chart should be drawn for each student and achievement to date marked.

At the end of each speech the audience should applaud and congratulate the speaker.

Discussion can take place about areas of fear and hesitancy within the group with the emphasis on positive feedback from fellow student speakers.

Each step should be repeated if there is any fear of progressing  to the next step until the student feels comfortable in progressing to a longer speech and bigger audience.

No specific time constraint should be put upon any student in this process.

All that remains to be said is


Barry Coots

Posted by ypsociety