Tag Archives: fear of public speaking

too fast?

Be courageous enough to pause and give your audience time to think. That means slowing down your points of wisdom to the point that people can hear a penny drop. 

-Ron Arden

I just can’t help it. My nerves get the better of me and my mouth just runs away with me.

Well, I am sorry, you can.   

In training people often tell me how worried they are about getting all of their information out in the time they have to present, they felt they just want to get it over with, want to give as much information as they think they can jam in.  The result is they just rush, rush, rush and the presentation comes out almost as a stream of unstructured information. Just think about what this means.  The message a poor presenter who rushes through their slide show or talk says quite clearly:-

a) I have not prepared my work well enough to deliver the salient points succinctly

b) I don’t care if people cannot understand what I’m talking about because I’m talking too fast

c) I do not respect my audience sufficiently to give this presentation the way it should be

And the final message he/she is indirectly giving out is  ‘I do not believe that my reputation or that of the organisation I represent is worth upholding.’  OUCH.

Pretty shocking really, isn’t it?


Now, let’s re-write this scenario and imagine a situation where a presentation has been worked on and you conclude your presentation and receive a great heartfelt round of applause – and know you deserve it.  That is such a great feeling and you can achieve such an outcome when you’ve prepared with the audience in mind. Try using this to guide you:-

First Hot Three Tips – For a Successful Presentation 

I’ve given these in ‘3’s’, as this seems to be easier to remember.

Before anything, consider what the objective of your presentation is and ask yourself why you have been asked to deliver it. Then consider your audience, be it of one or to many people.

  1. Who am I presenting to?
  2. What time has been allocated?
  3. What is the most relevant information can I give in the time available 
What you are doing here is 'starting with the end in mind'


Next Steps

Now you know your audience, time and key information for your content, you need to think about:-

  1. The key message
  2. The structure and delivery –  to make it both interesting and appropriate, making sure you have an opening to get people’s attention, enough substance to hold their interest and a strong closing which reminds the audience why you were the right person for this occasion.
  3. The audience ‘take-away’, focusing on 3 key points  –  ‘sound-bites’ or ‘nuggets’ you want your audience to remember
Try mind-mapping to give you an outline - what I call 'the presentation framework'


Now for the Hard Work

  1. The CREATION, writing, editing, souring of images
  2. Continual EDITING ensuring your pitch, pace and strategic use of pauses all add, never distract and only what is useful remains. You may use story telling, or another delivery style to weave together your content to make your presentation flow
  3. Rehearsal, PRACTICE, time and time again.  Refining more and more each time.


this is the magic of 'how' you bring it together to make your presentation flow


It sounds so easy. And it is .. incredibly easy to get it wrong.  It is all about common sense.

When you don’t allow for the PAUSES, you are not giving your audience time to think, time to process the valuable information you have prepared.  When you talk too much and ad-lib, you are likely to move away from your key message and run overtime, disrespecting your hosts and if other speakers are following your speaker slot, your overrun may literally ‘steal’ their time, as they are obliged to keep to the overall schedule and cut their speech or presentation short.  It will nearly always take longer to deliver than you think, so be stringent in your editing. LESS IS MORE.  More memorable, more digestible, more enjoyable. For your audience and for you.  The more experienced you become, the more competent you will be and the more effectively you will be able to move ‘off script’ but as a new presenter, it is best to follow guidelines.


If you’d like to work with me on a one to one basis, or are interested in group training for your organisation, click to contact me directly or phone me on 086 8572005.





On the Soapbox

If Speaking in Public causes you stress…

You’re not alone. More than half the population seem to be terrified at the very thought of being asked to present or speak in public. In fact, many have said they would rather ‘die’ !! Yes, figure that one out for common sense…. You may be surprised to know many of the world’s greatest speeches have been made by introverts, people who choose to Janie Lazar - Coderdojothon 2016manage their stress and present with excitement rather than fear. The good news is you can learn to do the same and begin to enjoy speaking and presenting, both with ease and confidence. Boosting your communication skills and public speaking really can be something to look forward to as you develop your skills to present effectively and connect with real confidence.  

In fact, for Non Native English Speaking Professionals,  spend 5th November 2016 with us for an intensive workshop and you’ll be well on the way to mastering those nerves. You’ll learn essential skills you can use in any language.

Click to contact me directly for One to One Coaching 1-2-1 


the Chinese word ‘wei-chi’ has two meanings: ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’.  It all depends on how you see it.  So when you change your perspective and see speaking in public as an opportunity, we can work to turn that fear into excitement.


Today I met a Firefighter

At full tide down at the 40′, you never know who you’ll get into conversation with.  I’m there, we’re chatting about the pull of the tide and the next thing, whilst we’re maintaining strict eye level contact as we discreetly peel off our wet togs and get dressed, I’m chatting to one of the nicest guys I’ve met for a long time.  Stephen O’Reilly.  Firefighter.  Instantly I like him.  Firefighters have to be good people and you know instantly when you meet someone if this is someone you want to chat with, or politely disengage!   The 40′ attracts a very correct crowd of people, in case you are wondering.

A Quick Dip in the Irish Sea by Heather McKay

A Quick Dip in the Irish Sea by Heather McKay

Now don’t misunderstand me, this post is not about attraction in that sense of the word, it’s about social dynamics.  Stephen is so enthusiastic about what he does in addition to his job as a firefighter, I find the more he talks, the more I want to hear. Anyhow, the conversation flows easily and he asks what I do, WORDS,  I say, well it’s much more than words – it’s about how we use them. It’s about who you are. Now we’re flying and I get to find out so much more about what drives Stephen and now I understand why he drives across the city to dive into the sea and make the most of one of our most wonderful natural resources.   Check out grown.ie. It’s a cool company, who stand by their ethics. I love the clarity of their brand ‘messaging’ and yes, Stephen is a great brand ambassador. The point of all this?  Life is one big conversation and I just love it.



why what you do matters

One of the women on a recent workshop was recovering from a serious brain injury.  Everyone has their story and though we were not party to hers, by the end of the morning, this woman who I’ll call Sarah, I believe had found her purpose.  This was one of my ‘Communicate with Greater Confidence’ workshops geared to providing understanding of how we communicate with others, the learning process, understanding personality types, how to connect.  Sarah has a gift and I believe that morning, through speaking from the heart, she came to realise through her own learning of how to deal with brain trauma, she could help others through public speaking. Helping others to cope with brain trauma and not be afraid.  Every time I teach, I learn.   I love what I do.  In giving someone the confidence to stand up and speak out, to shine a light on their potential and light that spark, I get a huge buzz.  Sarah’s accident was no accident, I feel it happened for a reason, so that she may now really live.

learn by looking … closely

Want to really Speak with Confidence?

One way to quickly improve your speaking skills is by listening and watching yourself and others.  Go on to U-tube and you’ll find some amazing tutorials.  You’ll find people who are at the top of their game and their advice is invaluable.  Go one step better and start videoing yourself, learn to let your personal, conversational style of presenting, of talking to camera develop.  Only by seeing yourself on camera will you really understanding how to improve.  Share the videos with an honest colleague or friend, learn to take advice from others and watch yourself improve.  If you’re serious about developing your personal Conversational Style, then click read more and to check out our workshops.  If the notion of developing your public speaking and leadership skills on a regular basis appeals to you, then consider organisations like Toastmasters where you can learn in a supportive environment.  Contrary to popular belief, Toastmasters gives you far more than public speaking skills.  Visit a local club or two and see for yourself. 


Introverts make great Speakers too

If you thought only extroverts make great Speakers, think again.  Introverts make great speakers because they master the skill of speaking in public and know how to capture the attention of their audience. Check out Susan Cain on TED Talks and you’ll see what I mean. TED TALKS are a great way to learn how to hone your speaking skills, as well as filling those moments when the person you’re waiting for is running late!

Described as a quiet revolutionary, Susan Cain’s book  ‘The Power of Introverts’  will change your perception of Extraverts/Intraverts.   Well written, well researched.  Well worth buying and taking the time to read. Just listening to her talk, you’ll see how captivating a well structured and prepared a well researched speech can be, especially when the subject is something the writer feels so close to.  Listen to her talk by clicking on the link below.



janie-saysthink of giving a speech as a conversation……talking is performing and you can do it too…


Developing your own Conversational Style

Going weak at the knees….

Fear dominated my early life. As a child, I was terrified. Terrified of lots of things.  Some silly.  Some not so stupid.  One very real fear was of being asked to say a prayer at a seder supper as I  unlike my cousins, I didn’t speak hebrew. In school, I knew I wasn’t the brightest and avoided any possibility of being picked out for anything at all and so the habit of being fearful continued through most of my adult life of choosing to play second fiddle, never wanting to be in the spotlight.  I felt I wasn’t intelligent enough, certainly not funny enough and I believed that no-one would find what I had to say of interest anyway.  The very notion of  exposing myself to possible ridicule filled me with horror on a regular basis. Fear you’ll have gathered is something I really understand.

If the thought of speaking in public terrifies you and your knees turn jelly, it is in your power to change how you feel. There are some easily learnt techniques that can help you speak in public, with confidence and take the stress out of those business situations where you know you’ve simply got to deliver.  Developing your own style is one of the most important steps to presenting well and to think of your style as a type of conversation can help.  Once you’ve done so, then it’s a case of modifying your CONVERSATIONAL STYLE to suit the situation.  Easier said than done, right?  Take the first step and think of how you talk to different members of your family.  Talking with a brother or sister, for example, will probably be more informal than perhaps talking to an Aunt or Uncle.  In business, it’s much the same.  There will be people with whom you adopt a less familiar or formal tone.  We’re all human and the more you can learn to relax and communicate with ease, the greater, more varied and most important of all, the more personalised your ‘conversational style’ will become. Wobbly knees will be a distant memory and all you’ll feel is the excitement and pleasure of speaking with confidence.

janie-says Confident Communicators have the ability to Inspire and Motivate

‘Darling, nobody knows’

Put on the Spot !

When I was out the other night, I was asked to comment on a particular situation.  Afterwards, I was complimented on how calm I seemed, especially as this was a topic that I was unfamiliar with and held little interest for me!  My first instinct was not to comment, make an excuse and quickly avoid the issue altogether.  Whenever I find myself in such situations, I remember the words of a very confident friend who helped me greatly in my early years and can still hear her voice today. When I said how nervous I felt if asked my opinion,  that my knees would shake and my mouth would go dry, she replied in her deep, husky voice  ‘but darling, darling, nobody knows.  Nobody but you can ever know how very fearful you are’.  Having a background in opera and drama, she knew only too well how fear can take over and would prime herself every single time she went on stage.  Now I’m not proposing you put on an award winning performance every time you get an attack of nerves.  What I am saying is that PRACTICE MAKES BETTER ! The more you associate speaking well with a good feeling, the better it gets and you can fool your sub-conscious mind into helping you achieve a greater level of satisfaction and success each and every time you speak.  Give the illusion of ‘Nerves of Steel’ and relegate ‘Legs like Jelly’ to history with a few easily learned techniques from a ‘Self Smarter’ workshop.

janie-saysYou need the adrenalin of nerves to keep you on top of your performance.  When feeling anxious,   remember the words of my friend….. ‘Darling, darling, nobody knows. Just take a deep breath and go for it !