5 Ways to Conquer Your Public Speaking Fears

Last Updated on April 25, 2017

Delivering a presentation in front of people is pretty stressful, especially if your job/bonus/promotion depends on the audience’s opinion at the end of it.

But, we’ve all been there and we managed to survive. Of course, we are not here to make you feel relieved that this is an easy task (no matter how easy we can make it for you!), especially when we speak about international audiences that are young & eager to challenge you. 🙂

Moreover, delivering a presentation goes beyond simply setting up a PowerPoint, practising zero to one times and, when the time comes, repeating what you have written on the slides, using different words.

Presentations & speeches, if prepared and practised sufficiently, can inspire us, make us think & laugh simultaneously, give us hope. Ultimately, they empower us to discover our better self. In thisseries or #PresentationMustKnows, we aim to give you the tools you need to not only survive, but excel at giving presentations.

Why people feel uncomfortable with public speaking

Having delivered more than 150 presentations (both virtually & physically) and having trained more than 100 people in public speaking, I’ve come to discover that there are 3 main reasons that make people feel anxious when speaking in public:

  1. Fear of appearing nervous.
    Many people fear that their nervousness will be perceived as a sign of insufficient knowledge of the topic they have been called upon to present. Of course, that’s not the case at all.

  2. Fear that the others will judge you.
    There is one tough & ugly truth here that proves the opposite: people don’t care about you. Certainly, they’d like to spend their time well, but watching a speaker have a hard time, can be embarrassing for them too. Also, you need to remember, the audience is there as they already believe your presentation will benefit them and not to make you feel uncomfortable. Plus, the bottom line for 100mentors is that the value lies in authentic moments (stay tuned for next week’s relevant post about “Authenticity”). There is no recipe for success. Only different horizons for different audiences. You cannot be a role-model for everyone and you don’t want it either. So chill out, be originally yourself and try to enjoy! 🙂

  3. Past failures & Lack of preparation.
    These 2 apply in every skill that gets you out of your comfort zone; selling, networking, asking for a promotion, etc. Why? Because you failed at some point in one of these circumstances, which in turn made you believe ‘it’s not for me’. The question is: were you prepared enough? Did you do your homework beforehand? Public speaking is like any other skill; you need to practise & practise & practise over and over again until you reach the result you are striving for. For others it’s easier, others find it more difficult, but at the end of the day, it’s all about preparing enough and remembering that failure is just another part of the process. 

Of course, at 100mentors where authenticity is a priority, preparation primarily entails being proactive in terms of becoming familiar with your audience. How you empower a young student audience to become engaged. Everything else content-wise should be, just rehearsing for being yourself at the time of the presentation!

In this light, one question remains: Can I do it? And if yes, how?

Let’s find out!

5 useful tips to overcome your fears & become the best

Presenting for 20 minutes in front of a classroom can be a joyful way to spend your coffee-break, or it can turn a nightmare (either for you or the students. Or both!). 

From our experience of organizing and facilitating more than 500 virtual sessions between mentors & mentees, there are 5 crucial factors that separate the full-of-joy, super-engaging virtual sessions from the mediocre (or low-level) ones:

  1. The technological aspect
  2. The speaker’s content & presentation strategy
  3. The speaker’s body language
  4. The interaction between the speaker and their audience
  5. The audience’s mood

Put these tips to use in classrooms & mentor sessions

Whether you’re teaching a class, giving a TEDtalk, or hosting a mentor session on a platform, put these tips to use to ensure you’re getting your message across. 100mentors is the platform and network empowering students to connect with mentors on-demand to guide them in their most important academic and career decisions. With 100mentors, schools enable students to open up their circles of influence to include mentors from 300+ universities and 500+ companies across the world. Ready to mentor and empower students? Get started below.

This is one part of a 6-part series, highlighting the must-knows of presenting and public speaking.

To catch up on the rest of the series, check out: Part 2 of 6: Technology Tips for Presenting to Live & Virtual AudiencesPart 3 of 6: 5 Tips to Avoid Death by PowerPointPart 4 of 6: 4 Ways to Use Body Language to Be Perceived as a Friendly & Influential Speaker & Part 5 of 6: 3 Ways to Actively Engage Your Audience When Presenting.


Nikos gets out of bed every morning to bridge the gap between formal education and 'paideia' (values, attitudes & role-models). He delivers experiential workshops to people who want to develop their public-speaking skills. At 100mentors, he helps Student Recruitment Officers connect with top-students worldwide.

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