Inspiring Quotes for People Terrified of Public Speaking

Updated on March 22, 2017
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Sally is a business communications coach who gives workshops on how to keep your professional reputation squeaky clean and drama-free.

Here are some funny quips and quotes about public speaking along with a few tips and insights into how to make your next speech or presentation memorable and meaningful. After all, if you can't get over your fear of public speaking, you might as well just learn to laugh at yourself!

Does your fear of public speaking make you wish you could hide your embarrassment behind a funny mask?
Does your fear of public speaking make you wish you could hide your embarrassment behind a funny mask?

According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than delivering the eulogy.

— Jerry Seinfeld

Even the most experienced speakers get nervous. Some of the best performers in the world, whether they're motivational speakers, comedians, talk show hosts or actors are happy to admit that they experience feelings or fear and nervousness before they take the stage. But what many of them have learned to do is to channel that restless nervousness into energy and excitement. They use that anxious energy as a reminder to themselves that they care about their craft and they're passionate about giving their audience the best experience possible.

If you've got the jitters before giving your speech, channel your nervous energy into reviewing your material one last time.
If you've got the jitters before giving your speech, channel your nervous energy into reviewing your material one last time.

The worst speech you'll ever give will be far better than the one you never give.

— Fred Miller

Seize the opportunity to shine! If you are terrified of public speaking, try reframing your perspective and ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Even if you end up flubbing your speech or you shake like a leaf the whole way through, keep an open mind, be kind to yourself and look at your failure as an chance to learn and grow. The opportunity to address is an immense privilege. It is your chance to share your ideas, your experience, your story.

Imagine what the world would have missed out on if some of the greatest leaders and peacemakers in the world had decided to let a fear of public speaking stand between them and an audience hungry for hope and positive way forward.

Imagine what society would be like if everyone stayed silent because they were terrified of speaking in public.
Imagine what society would be like if everyone stayed silent because they were terrified of speaking in public.

It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.

— Mark Twain

Even the most casual speeches require practice and preparation to be effective. Mark Twain is one of the most famous writers in the world, known for his sharp wit and his compelling storytelling skills. If you are terrified of public speaking because you're afraid you'll sound like an anxious amateur, speaking in stiff and stilted tones, then practice is the best remedy for that. The reason stand up comedians are so entertaining is that they have practiced their routines over and over again so that they can deliver it in a relaxed and approachable manner.

If you want to write a crowd-pleasing speech that can be delivered in a relaxed and confident manner, you should plan to write several rough drafts before you decide on your final draft.
If you want to write a crowd-pleasing speech that can be delivered in a relaxed and confident manner, you should plan to write several rough drafts before you decide on your final draft.

If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack.

— Winston S. Churchill

You are there to make a point, so don't be afraid to get right to it. Avoid using words and phrases that make your case sound weak and poorly thought out. For example, don't say things like "I just want to say...", start saying it--no need to add a preamble. Other phrases such as "I'm not sure..." or ""Don't quote me on this, but..." suggest that you haven't done your research and that even you have doubts about what it is you are saying.

A little bit of tension and suspense at the begining of your speech can grab people's attention. But don't leave your audience hanging for too long. Always get to the point early on in your speech otherwise you might lose everyone's interest.
A little bit of tension and suspense at the begining of your speech can grab people's attention. But don't leave your audience hanging for too long. Always get to the point early on in your speech otherwise you might lose everyone's interest.

© 2016 Sally Hayes

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