Fear of Speaking in Public

StellaI am always bowled over by how many students share their fears re: their voice. Not a new subject to me, I quickly respond to each with a similar story. It never ceases to amaze me how emotional I become every time I share it. Many, many years ago, I experienced a traumatic experience with my voice and it still lives in me to this day. I had a teacher who paraded me in front of a large master class of music majors and described my voice as what no one would ever want. Of course, the second I realized what was happening I choked and could not produce a note. I will never forget that day or the lasting effect it has had on my performances requiring a song.

Having the fear of speaking in public is debilitating in its extreme, but common and quite natural in its “every day” occurrences. It comes in all shapes and sizes and it controllable. My advice to everyone is to implement a few things when needing to give a public speech or performance of any kind: 1. Breathe, breathe, breathe! 2. Relax legs. 3. View the room you are in and fully see it, understand it, and fill it with your voice. 4. Confidence is welcoming and always works to win over an audience. Rely on your confidence of your knowledge of the subject. If you are prepared, then you deserve to share everything about it and truly be heard. 4. Work through the nerves by being larger with words and vocal energy, even though you may want to hide and be smaller. Don’t retreat-be present and usually the nerves settle.

That day so long ago that seemed to crush me to my very core still remains in my memory, but through my hard work and education, I can honestly say I have fought the demons and won. You can too.

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