Are You Afraid of Speaking in Public? by Carol Graham from @BatteredHope

Photo Credit: TED Conference via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: TED Conference via Compfight cc

by Carol Graham

Public Speaking. Speaking in Public. Speaking to a large group of people. Speaking to a room full of your peers. Does any of this scare you? If so, you are not alone. There is an old adage that says some people fear public speaking more than death.

Speaking in public is my passion. Motivating and inspiring people to do more; be more, laugh more, love more and live better brings great rewards. Many people have much to share but are afraid to do it in a public forum. Two things I have learned come from experience — not a textbook or a public speaking course. Master these two and your fears will be short lived.

One of the most important things you must learn is what you do in the first six seconds. If you walk up to the microphone and start to speak before you get there, it shows your nervousness. First impressions are huge and you want to give a good one. The first six seconds – don’t say a word. Pick up your microphone, look at your audience and smile. In these first six seconds, your audience is analyzing you. They don’t hear what you say until they have had a good look at you.

The Second and Biggest Secret to Success is…

Of course, it is necessary to present yourself well in your appearance but, and this is a very big BUT, it is not what you wear or even necessarily what you say that is the most important. You can enunciate perfectly. You can be the greatest orator. You can articulate clearly. You can be dressed like a million bucks. However, if what you share comes from a cold place, your audience will perceive it and inevitably tune you out – almost immediately. As you become conscious of this, it makes you even more nervous.

Say this out loud and then think about it….

People don’t care how much you know – until they know how much you care. That warrants repeating. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. It does not matter what you are speaking about, do it with passion. You cannot find passion in a book. You cannot find passion in any store. No website sells passion. Your passion comes from within and people will recognize it very quickly.

I have been in sales most of my life but I have never sold anything I am not passionate about. You need to be passionate about what you are speaking about and people will listen. When you are speaking in public, you are selling yourself first, your product second.

Speaking to a group is like giving a gift to someone. When you do it from a place of love and compassion, you are not doing it because you have to, you are doing it because you want to. This is key to being a success.

How can being warm and fuzzy help you when you speak in public? It does not matter what you are talking about. It does not matter what you are selling. If you believe in what you are doing, if you are passionate about your subject, your audience will notice and reciprocate – making you very comfortable and relaxed.

When you are preparing your speech, think about what it really means to you. Why is it important to you? How can your product or service benefit others? Think of what your audience needs and how you can give it to them. They will recognize your motive and you will be successful.


Carol GrahamCarol Graham is the author of a fast-paced award-winning memoir, Battered Hope, the blog Never Ever Give Up Hope, a regular contributor to several blog sites and has been published in three anthologies including a best-seller.  In 2015, Carol received the Woman of Impact Award from Focus on Women Magazine and Author of the Year for her memoir, Battered Hope.

Carol hosts a bi-weekly talk show “Never Ever Give Up Hope” in which she interviews people with remarkable stories of how they overcame overwhelming obstacles and achieved success. “Never Ever Give Up Hope” has an international audience in over 50 countries.

In addition to motivational speaking, hosting a talk show and writing, Carol is a business owner, a wife, mother, grandmother and together with her husband have rescued over 30 dogs.

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33 Replies to “Are You Afraid of Speaking in Public? by Carol Graham from @BatteredHope”

  1. elly stornebrink

    Wise words ‘spoken’ from a wise woman! 😉 I appreciate the tips you share Carol. I overcame my fear of public speaking years ago when I took Dale Carnegie courses. However, when returning to public speaking through Toastmasters, I had to overcome some of my initial nervousness. I used the first tip you mentioned that I learned a few years ago and it certainly is a very powerful tip or tool. However, I certainly can use a reminder to speak from heart rather than memorizing a speech. Though I am generally a passionate and caring person, you are right on that the audience needs to know that I am interested in them before they are able to hear me. <3

  2. Barry Joyce

    Hey Carol, my company in the UK offer this sort of training and i couldn’t agree more with your sound advice. Thanks for sharing

    All the best


    1. Carol Graham

      Thank you for sharing that Barry.

  3. Kebba Buckley Button

    Carol, these 2 principles are powerful! I have heard each before, but this piece really helps us to understand why and how those 2 dynamics actually work. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Carol Graham

      Great Kebba. I am glad they encouraged you and brought some clarity.

  4. Jeanine @ The Storybook Healing Blog

    That was very encouraging, Carol! Although I love making audios and putting them up on my website or sending them to my list, the idea of speaking in person, in front of a crowd, makes me VERY nervous. I could plan a talk easily ~ Probably in the next ten minutes have it outlined and planned. But doing it would be the hard part.

    Thanks for your good advice about how to begin and about making sure they know you care!


    My UBC post…

    1. Carol Graham

      I hope you take the step to sharing publicly, Jeanine. It takes some practice but once you step out, you will gain confidence.

  5. Ramya Abhinand

    totally terrified at most times.. Feel those fluttering butterflies within.. Hoping this ready reckoner helps me get over it.

    1. Carol Graham

      You have absolutely nothing to fear. People are there because they want to hear what YOU have to say. Take a deep breath, speak slowing and clearly and smile. You will be fine!

  6. Stella Chiu


    Your points point make so much sense. Each point will help me to fight my weakness in public speaking.

    There are two points stand out for me . I start to speak even before I was before the microphone. Glad that you remind us not to start speaking until few minute later. How wonderful you pointed that public speaking is nothing more than just selling you (instead of product) with passion. Good point right there.

    Thanks for sharing your insight!

    – Stella Chiu

    1. Carol Graham

      If I can be of any help to you, Stella, please contact me and I would be happy to answer any questions. Thank you for taking the time to comment on this post.

  7. Dee McKain

    Thanks for your insight, Carol. Several things I had never considered before; i.e., waiting six seconds before speaking and being passionate about what you are speaking about. Great suggestions.

    1. Carol Graham

      Thank you for commenting and I am glad you enjoyed it Dee

  8. 1010ParkPlace

    Wait six seconds… I’d never heard that, Carol. Great advice, and it makes sense. Thank you, Brenda

    1. Carol Graham

      The six second rule will serve you well, 1010ParkPlace

  9. Shalini R

    Excellent post, Carol and some great tips there. Thanks for sharing them.

    1. Carol Graham

      Thank you Shalini and I am glad you liked the tips

  10. KCLAnderson (Karen)

    Love this!! I, too, have decided I want to use my actual voice, not just my writing voice. A couple of ah-ha’s I’ve had recently:

    1. I often give the advice to “write like you speak” to people who ask me about how to write. I realized that I had to take my own advice when it comes to speaking: “speak like I speak.” 🙂

    2. I used to worry that others were judging me. Owning that I was also judging them helped me let go of self-consciousness and step into self-awareness.

    1. Carol Graham

      Karen, you hit it bang-on! I remember the same advice about writing and have used it. But it is also important not to put on airs when we are speaking in public. People want to feel like you are personally including them in the ‘conversation.’

      Thank you for commenting.

  11. Pat

    This is a great post and so timely as I have upcoming speaking engagement and I don’t enjoy public speaking.

    1. Carol Graham

      I am sorry you do not like to speak in public but you will like it more if you are comfortable doing it, I am sure. Hopefully, these tips will help you.

  12. Carol Graham

    What are some of the tips you learned Suzy?

  13. Marianne

    Great article or Carol, I’m not a public speaker and if I ever do have to speak I will remember your words

    1. Carol Graham

      Thank you Marianne for taking the time to comment.

  14. Suzy

    Great tips. I did a course in public speaking after I left school. One of the best investments I made.

    1. Carol Graham

      Good for you Suzy and thank you for commenting!

  15. Alana

    I’ve had to give talks from time to time to a large group at work and that six second rule is so very true! I so dreaded having to take speech class in college but I learned some valuable things – among them your observation that you have to be passionate about what you are talking about. I wasn’t passionate about my first topic and flopped. My second speech was 100% different because it was on a topic I enjoy – crocheting. I still remember how much fun the speech turned out to be, to my surprise. Still, I hope I don’t ever have to learn a living as a public speaker.

    1. Carol Graham

      Thank you for sharing that Alana. Very interesting story of how much passion for your subject made such a difference.

  16. Carol Graham

    Thank you so much, Traci, for your added support and glad to hear you incorporate the same techniques when you speak in public.

  17. Traci Lawrence

    HI, Carol. Great tips! Very practical! I have spoken in public a few times, and I can vouch for every single one of your tips. My main takeaways were that passion and making good use of the first six seconds are key. So true! You can have tons of book knowledge in a certain subject, but if you speak about it dispassionately, you lose your audience immediately.

  18. Carol Graham

    Thank you for posting this article on Sheownsit! This site has some of the most encouraging stories of success and how-to tips that is offered online.

    1. lois hollis


      Thank you for informing us about this most inspiring article. YES, passion is at the heart of success because it shows our heart of love. I know that I could not be in business if my passion was not feeding me. Carol, you are the heart of passion that shines through your talks. Thanks again for the reminder.

      1. Carol Graham

        Thank you Lois and I am glad this article ‘spoke’ to you

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