Calming public speaking fears


Dana Baker

Lauren Tabella, a freshman at Freedom, rehearses what she has to say for her presentation. During her presentation, Tabella says she felt nervous, but all was good in the end.

High School is a place where individuals are able to express themselves, and to do that they need to know how to speak confidently in public.

Multiple students stand in front of the classroom, flashcards in hand, rehearsing their lines for their presentation. When it’s time for them to present, their minds goes blank.

According to Peter Khoury of Magnetic Speaking, public speaking is one of the most common fears, affecting about 7 percent of the U.S. population which adds up to approximately 27 million Americans.

Being self conscious is one main reason for having a fear of public speaking, according to public speaking teacher Dana Maier. Talking to a good friend, it is conversational, she says. With a large crowd, that person is the only one speaking. All eyes are focused on them.

“You’re very exposed, and people aren’t very comfortable with that,” Maier said. “I think it’s natural.”

It may be natural to be anxious when it comes to public speaking, but are there ways to reduce anxiety and make being confident more natural?

Freshman, Connor Horton, says that if he talks about something he enjoys, he feels more relaxed because he is “in his element.”  

By doing this, speakers can focus on sharing the message that they want to vocalize.

“The material I teach is something I am very passionate about,” Earth Science teacher Kimberly Pajazetovic said. “So having a conversation about anything earth science is not a scary factor for me any longer.”

After some time, talking about something interesting will help students feel at ease. However, presenting a topic for a class or something that bores them can lead to increased anxiety.

Presenting a project with a group can help with the fear of public speaking. 

“Realizing that when you stand up to speak in front of a group, especially in a class presentation, you’re not the only one giving a presentation,” Maier said. “You’re surrounded by people sympathetic with your situation, so understanding that everyone’s of one mind, your audience is going to be far more forgiving than you initially think they are.”

Without public speaking “we would have the same things happening over again,” Pajazetovic said. “The fear of public speaking might not ever go away.”

People would probably get less jobs, says Horton, and would lower expectations at job interviews.

“How would we be able to have politicians?” Pajazetovic said. “How would we be able to have company CEOs or teachers if we couldn’t have [public speaking]?”

Try imagining a world without common public speakers like our President, famous musicians and authors.