Fear of Public Speaking

If your knees are knocking, your heart is pounding and your mouth is dry, don’t worry you are not alone.

The friendly, supportive atmosphere at Sans Souci Speakers Club (Solihull) will help you overcome that fear and become a confident speaker.

Read below for advice to get you started or contact us for more information.


Conquer your fears

Stop worrying about whether you CAN make good presentaions.
Join Sans Souci and just DO them!

Ten stages to confidence

Follow the ASC Speakers Guide from A1 Making a Start to A10 Showpiece and you’ll never look back.

Tips for Beating Fear

Scroll down for lots of handy tips to help you conquer your fear of public speaking and presentations.


Three strategies to beat your fear of public speaking

With our help, advice and support you can beat that fear

According to a frequently cited survey, most people consider public speaking more frightening than death!

Personally I’d rather lecture to a thousand people wearing only my socks than die….. but they are rather nice socks.

Many celebrities have suffered from stage fright and anyone who doesn’t get a little nervous is probably a few French fries short of a Happy Meal. But that’s no help when stage fright strikes. What practical steps can you take?

The experts give three strategies to reduce your fear of public speaking.

  • Rehearsal and preparation
  • Deep breathing
  • Mental preparation

Check out details of each strategy below and then come and try them out for yourself at Sans Souci Speakers Club (Solihull).


Beat Your Fear

Tip #1

Rehearsal and preparation will reduce your fear of public speaking by 75 percent.

What generates confidence is preparing well, practising with astute colleagues or coaches and getting their feedback, making sure all the little details are taken care of, and speaking often.

Tom Leech

Rehearsal and Preparation

Fear of public speaking, performance anxiety, stage fright, call it what you will, rehearsal and preparation will reduce your fear by a whopping 75 percent.


The great speakers and entertainers we see on stage or television make it look effortless. What you don’t see are the teams of speech writers and the hours and hours of practice behind each perfect performance.

Ad-libs, off the cuff one liners and even complete impromptu speeches ALL practised, rehearsed and perfected long before they are used.

Unfortunately we mere mortals have to do exactly the same if we are to reduce our fear of public speaking.



Preparation means sorting out all the things that are in your control and planning what you might do if things go wrong.

The things in your control are:

  • Making sure you have a copy of your script or notes.
  • Arriving at the venue early and becoming familiar with the surroundings.
  • Checking how to adjust the lectern before you walk on stage.
  • Chatting to people in the room to help you relax.

The things that can go wrong are too numerous to mention but they could be…….

  • Your best joke or story fails to get a laugh.
  • The microphone acts up.
  • Not enough chairs in the room for the audience.
  • You ask for questions and there is no response.

All of these situations can be anticipated. For the solutions to all of the above and many, many more, refer to Lilly Walters excellent book “What to Say When…..You’re Dying on the Platform” on our Courses and Resources page.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously said...

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”


Beat Your Fear

Tip #2

Practise deep breathing to reduce your fear of public speaking by another 15 percent

If you are afraid, breathe slowly, feel your feelings and share them if you need to and then proceed to enrich the lives of others through your presentation.

Terry Cole-Whittaker

Deep breathing

For some reason, we forget to breathe normally when we get nervous, which makes us more stressed, which makes us breathe less, which makes us more nervous.

Try this exercise whenever you get nervous or whilst you’re waiting to be announced.

Breathing exercise for stress

This calming breathing technique for stress, anxiety and panic takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere.

You will get the most benefit if you do it regularly, as part of your daily routine.

You can do it standing up, sitting in a chair that supports your back, or lying on a bed or yoga mat on the floor.

Make yourself as comfortable as you can. If you can, loosen any clothes that restrict your breathing.

If you’re lying down, place your arms a little bit away from your sides, with the palms up. Let your legs be straight, or bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor.

If you’re sitting, place your arms on the chair arms.

If you’re sitting or standing, place both feet flat on the ground. Whatever position you’re in, place your feet roughly hip-width apart.

  • Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
  • Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5. You may not be able to reach 5 at first.
  • Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from 1 to 5 again, if you find this helpful.
  • Keep doing this for 3 to 5 minutes.

 Taken with thanks from NHS “Breathing Exercise for Stress”.

William Shakespeare put it this way...

“Steel thy fearful doubts and change thy misdoubts to resolution.”


Beat Your Fear

Tip #3

Control your mind to reduce your fear of public speaking by that final 10 percent

Always visualise the end of the program with 5,000 people standing up and applauding your ideas and presentation – it removes stage fright.

Thomas Faranda

Control your mind….. positive self-talk

No I’m not talking about the Vulcan mind probe, I’m talking about changing negative thoughts into positive ones.

We all have those niggling thoughts:

  • “It is going to be awful.”
  • “I know I will look foolish.”
  • “My boss is going to think I’m an idiot.”

But if you have prepared thoroughly, you can replace your negative thoughts with positive ones.

  • “I am going to enjoy this.”
  • “I know my subject – I will look good.”
  • “My boss will be very impressed.”

The great advantage of joining Sans Souci, is that all speeches and presentations that you give in the club will be evaluated.

Your evaluator will be an experienced speaker and they will give you clear, concise and constructive feedback.

In time you will be convinced that your presentations are not awful, you don’t look a fool when you give a speech and that nobody thinks that you are an idiot.

Mark Twain was a brilliant public speaker who always suffered with nerves - he said...

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”


One Last Beat Your Fear Tip!

The real secret..... don't look nervous

In his book “Public Speaking and Presentations for Dummies”, Malcolm Kushner says:

“The uncommon knowledge is, it doesn’t really matter how nervous you are – as long as you appear calm. As long as the audience thinks you’re confident, that’s what counts.”

So there you have it – all you have to do is act out being calm and we all know what calm looks like.

Relax your shoulders, let your arms hang loose, no fidgeting, no pacing, no stiff movements…… a few deep breaths, a sip of water, then walk out slowly.

Good Luck!

Control Those Butterflies...

At Sans Souci Speakers Club, we take the fear of public speaking seriously and we work hard on reducing its impact, after all “Sans Souci” is French for “without fear”.

There are no easy fixes, no sure fire methods and most of us will always feel some anxiety.

We may never get rid of the butterflies….. but at least we can keep them flying in formation.

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