Reduce Fear–Hold a Conversation With Your Audience

Do you wish you had more confidence when you faced an audience? Then read the advice I gave to a member of my audience.

When I ended my hour-long seminar about the best language to use with customers, I asked the participants “Anybody have any questions?”

Without hesitation, one person spoke up. “Nobody would call me shy,” she said, “at least not in a one-on-one conversation. But when it comes to giving a speech, it’s impossible for me to face a group with any confidence at all. Can you offer just one quick tip that will help me overcome my fear of public speaking?”


I answered: “My best advice is to have a conversation with your audience. You’re comfortable talking with one person. That same down-to-earth, easygoing, poised attitude and approach will work whether you are sharing your thoughts with one listener or one hundred or one thousand.” Next, I told her briefly about a famous speech coach who had worked with nationally recognized leaders in politics, television, sports, and business. The most successful ones, he observed, never changed their mode of presentation. They took their low-key person-to-person style into radio and TV studios, press conferences, and speeches to huge audiences.

I’m sure that somebody who attends my events will ask the same question again. I’ll give the same answer. Engage your audience in lively conversation, and you will greatly reduce your anxiety about giving speeches.


My book–25 Ways to Control Your Stage Fright…And Become a Highly Confident Speaker–will give you other valuable tips and strategies for controlling your stage fright. You can order this brief guide book in paperback or Kindle. Use this link:

First, review my Web site to review the range of services I offer to corporations and to individual leaders:

Then call me today, to talk about your communication problems. We’ll discuss how I can help you solve them!

Call 678-316-4300

An Acquaintance Is Not Somebody We Truly Know

How many people do you know?

Twenty years ago we might have answered that question by estimating the number of people in our neighborhood, civic club, religious organization, workplace, country club, and other places we interacted with others.

The Internet has changed that. Now the answer could refer to those who are connected with us online. We might point to our connections on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and similar sites.

However, think for a minute about some of your acquaintances, even those you call friends. Do you know if they are veterans? How many states have they lived in? Is their current profession the only one they have pursued? What are their favorite vacation spots? What books and movies do they love? Do they have brothers and sisters?

Now we’re beginning to see what knowing somebody really means. To get to that level in a relationship, you have in-depth conversations. Not by texting, not by e-mailing–but by face to face talk that positions you as a keen, empathetic listener.

When I was teaching at the University of Georgia, I offered a noncredit evening course, “How to Improve Your Conversation.” Our two hour class met weekly for eight weeks. Quickly, I learned that the participants were hungry for conversational guidelines. Even today, I remember the auto dealer, TV broadcaster, sales professionals, and others who explored how to engage in meaningful conversation.

More recently, when I offer my corporate clients a list of 20 communication topics they want me to include in my coaching, “Become skilled at small talk” emerges as a popular choice. That seems to be increasingly the case.

So I am calling for us to generate more in in-depth conversations. Start with your family. Watch less TV, reduce time with games and gadgets. Ask “How was your day?” Or “Who is your favorite teacher this year?”

At work, inquire about families, hobbies, weekend plans, and other topics that reflect your genuine interest. In-depth conversations move us from “on speaking terms” to “how fascinating that individual is.”

Months from now, if I were to ask you “How many people do you know?” I hope you will not even mention your social media contacts. I’d be eager to hear what you have learned about those who have surrounded you for years.

Call me today to learn how my communication coaching will help you succeed. Remember, distance from my home office presents no problem. I will coach you by phone, Skype, or Zoom.

Call now: 678-316-4300

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