Manage the Fear of Public Speaking: 5 Pro Tips

You have the privilege to speak in front of an audience.

That means you have a chance to positively impact others’ thoughts or emotions, improve your reputation, profile or authority and it’s a great way to get a step ahead.

On the other hand . . . you have to speak in front of an audience.

If you are like most people that means nervousness, sleepless nights, and tachycardia (palpitations for some).

I’ve heard many professional speakers say, “People’s greatest fear is the fear of public speaking, that means they’d rather be dead then speak in front of a group!” It’s usually good for a laugh but I believe the fear people experience is really worry about potentially making a fool of themselves.


To help you manage some of that ‘worry,’ here are 5 tips to prevent you from making a fool of yourself:

Let’s start with the Don’ts

1.    Don’t Memorize

Some people falsely believe that in order to not make a fool of themselves, they need to memorize their speech. It seems somewhat logical however what happens when you memorize your speech is you are ‘in your head’ for the speech and not present for the audience. When I first started speaking, I memorized my speeches. The feedback I received was, “We just heard ‘Speaker Barb,’ we want to connect with the real Barb.”

When you memorize your speech, you are constantly trying to remember your next line. This takes you out of the moment and prevents audience connection.

2.    Don’t Read

Reading your speech is similar to memorizing your speech but it involves powerpoint slides. I’m referring to those slides that have countless bullet points and the speaker thinks, as an audience member, you can’t read so they decide to read every bullet point and … well that’s all they do, is read the bullet points. You know the result of that = boring and no audience connection. Speaking is connecting with the audience, showing your personality and bringing life to the content.

3.    Don’t Worry

Mark Twain says, “There are two types of speakers – those who get nervous and those who are liars.” Don’t worry about your nervousness – everyone has it. One of the main reasons people get nervous about speaking in front of a group is because they care about the message they are giving and they care about the audience receiving value.

I like to take a page from Bruce Springsteen’s playbook and re-label my nervousness as excitement – you have to admit they feel really similar. Instead of saying to myself “I’m so nervous,” I say “I’m excited to do this.” And it helps!


Now for the Do’s

4.    Practice, Practice …

And then practice some more. I can’t tell you how many people think they can ‘wing it’ and it turns out . . . they can’t. To be a good effective speaker, you have to practice. Other than a few chosen few (and I don’t know any of them), professional speakers and people who want to positively impact an audience practice their speeches and talks. Here’s the most important point, they practice out loud, not just in their head. We all sound really good in our heads however when we begin to speak out loud, we aren’t nearly as good as we thought we were. That means practice out loud.

Practicing out loud also lets you focus in on your timing. As you practice your speech, mark down the times of where you need to be at 10 minutes, 20 minutes etc.  This prevents the slow start and accelerated ending speakers do when they realize they are way behind time.

5.    Do Be You

There are a lot of great public speakers you may want to mimic … but don’t. Learn from watching and listening to these speakers but don’t try to impersonate them or be like them. Develop your own style, the style that let’s you be you. The audience want to connect to you. In order to develop your own style, learn something about yourself or your style each time you speak – what worked, what didn’t work? Take time to reflect on how you can be better.

And one bonus suggestion . . .

6.    Find Friendly Faces

I know you’ve seen the person yawning in the audience and worried your content was too dry. Early on in my speaking career, I got focused on someone who looked really defensive in one of my presentations (arms/legs crossed, frowning). I was convinced she hated what I was saying. At the end of the presentation she approached me and I thought, “Oh no, here it comes,” but instead she said, “That was a really good presentation!” I was so surprised. I actually said, “Really? I thought you hated it.” She said, “No, I was just thinking and I always sit with my arms and legs crossed.” Go figure.

Find friendly faces in your audience – those people who nod, smile and ‘lean in’ to your presentation. Focus on those folks. They are the ones that will calm your nerves.

Put these five tips (+ 1 bonus tip) to use and your fear of public speaking will be a distant memory. Ok, maybe not a distant memory but rather a memory you are distancing yourself from – how’s that for a re-phrase?

Learn, Laugh, Share

Barb Langlois RN, BSN, MSN
All Pro Advanced Toastmasters

We would love to share Toastmasters with you! 

Come as a guest to the next Vancore Toastmasters Meeting!
When: Every Wednesday at 3 PM
Location: 8th Floor – 889 W. Pender Street, Vancouver, BC

Send inquiries to:


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City View Inspires Vancore Meeting

Vancore Toastmasters club changes venue occasionally when our usual venue is not available. If you’re a guest and not on our weekly member e-mail list, check our website for updates or email to confirm the venue.

For our May 24th meeting, we convened at a private meeting room on the roof top of 745 Thurlow. We were treated to a gorgeous view of the city! Our beautiful location inspired meeting attendees to step out of their comfort zones. We saw several new members take on meeting roles for the first time and a seasoned member deliver a spontaneous speech on her experience using Toastmasters to rehearse her public talk.


We love having fun at Vancore Toastmasters!  Stay tuned for announcement of our upcoming club social at the rooftop venue this summer.

Wednesday at 3 PM
We’re back at 8th floor – 889 W. Pender Street!

See you there!

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Rising up to the Challenge: Impromtu Speaking

At our April 5th meeting, three speech slots became available due to a cancellation of a prepared speech. To fill the agenda, the chairperson put out a challenge to anyone at the meeting to volunteer for an impromptu speech.

Not one, but three people put up their hand! A record at Vancore! As the meeting progressed, each speaker had 10-20 minutes to think about their speech before being called up. Ben, a brand new member, spoke about alternative energy. Connie, a seasoned member, spoke about nuclear energy. Shan, a first-time guest, spoke about what it means to be an introvert. What made them successful was speaking from their hearts on subjects that matter to them. Kudos to all the speakers for stepping up and displaying their courage!

Watch the short training video below on how to deliver an impromptu speech. The impromptu speakers at the Vancore meeting employed many of the techniques and tips discussed.

Vancore meetings provide a supportive environment for members and guests at various levels of their speaking journey. Come to a Vancore meeting and practice what you learned. Practice makes perfect!

When: Wednesday at 3 pm

889 W. Pender Street, 8th floor
Vancouver, BC

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Ace Your Job Interview and Land the Job

Watch this 5 minute Video to Job Interview Tips

Here’s a brief summary of what you’ll learn:

  1. Know your values and interests. Understand where you best fit in.
  2. Know your resume. Think through your examples in advance.
  3. Use a strong voice and commit to your answers. Use your voice to display your passion and how serious and committed you are for your job.
  4. Let your body language to speak well of you, and help you appear confident and competent.
  5. Stop, listen and then respond. Use examples to demonstrate the skills you’re describing.

Always keep your answers and demeanor positive.

When you consistently practice these communication skills, you’ll confidently go into job interviews ready to shine. How to do this? Vancore Toastmasters Meetings gives you a supportive environment to practice, receive feedback and improve. Come to the next meeting this Wednesday at 3 pm and we’ll show you how. Guests are welcome!

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5 Basic Public Speaking Tips

Click video to learn the Five Basic Public Speaking Tips

Summary of the Tips:

  1. Know your subject and your speech
  2. Know your audience and your space
  3. Never apologize
  4. Imagine yourself giving a great speech
  5. Focus on your message, not on yourself
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UP CLOSE: Vincent Cua, Vancore Past President


Vincent Cua: Past President, Vancore Toastmasters


Vincent Cua, a proud member of Vancore for over two years, recently completed his 2015-2016 term as president of Vancore.

Our enthusiastic and hard-working past president took some time to reflect on his very busy year and some of the inner workings that make up Vancore.


Q & A with VINCENT

What made you decide to run for president of Vancore?

I wanted to have a say in how our club interacts with our Toastmasters Area and other clubs. I had a good experience as the club’s Sergeant at Arms the previous year and wanted to help the club in other areas, as I very much want our club to succeed.

What were the highlights of your term?

I am happy to report that Vancore earned the club Select Distinguished status as a result of accumulating 7 Distinguished Club Program (DCP) points.

It has been a good learning experience getting to know and work with the club officers. I learned about myself in a leadership role. I have better awareness of my personal strengths, such as being hands-on and my ability to adapt as roles and needs arise. I also learned of areas where I can improve such as delegation and inspiration.

Vancore has a reputation of being a strong and resilient club despite the ebbs and flows of membership and I am proud to have made a contribution.

 What were some challenges?

It was challenging to find the time to fully commit to the club. There are many tasks that need to done behind the scenes for weekly meetings to run smoothly, and to make for a successful club. Since I like being hands-on, I took on more roles and tasks than I was able to manage with my time. If I were to do things differently, I would focus on delegating many of the tasks and spend time enabling the executive team to perform their responsibilities.

Some areas for club improvement include implementing member feedback and putting a system in place to help the executive learn their roles.

What do you feel you have accomplished?

I’m happy to have lead the club earn club Select Distinguished status as a result of accumulating 7 Distinguished Club Program (DCP) points through various club activities and initiatives.

We have taken steps to put new energy back into the club following some turnover over the past few years. The participation of many new members has been encouraging. Over the past few months, we initiated club Moments of Truth and a membership survey to actively improve the club so members get the most from their membership and participation at meetings.

How will you continue to be involved with Vancore?

I will move on to serve as the club’s Vice President of Education, in charge of making sure members have mentors to help them with their goals, organizing club contests, and encouraging the club to continue to work through their manuals and improve their communication skills.

Thank you, Vincent, for your leadership and hard work in making a Vancore a better club for members. We wish you all the best as you progress into your next leadership role!


VANCORE OFFICERS for 2016-2017 

President – Jonathan Buchanan

Vice President of Education – Vincent Cua

Vice President of Membership – Connie Hubbs

Vice President of Public Relations – Debra Jang

Treasurer – Kate Hallanzy

Secretary – Rei Tamori

Sergeant at Arms – Miki Aizawa


Many of your Vancore officers attend each meeting. Reach out to us if you have questions about the club and how to get the most out of each meeting.

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Moments of Truth

Did the title get your attention?

Moments of Truth may sound imposing but like most things at Toastmasters, it is really an opportunity for learning, and especially a time for reflection. How can Vancore better serve you and your goals? How can we improve your member experience?

Tomorrow on June 8th at 4:15 pm, following our regularly scheduled meeting, Kate Hallanzy will be chairing a 45 minute session called Moments of Truth, a Toastmasters module where we will reflect on six aspects of the club:

  • First Impressions
  • Membership Orientation
  • Fellowship, Variety, Communication
  • Program Planning and Meeting Organization
  • Membership Strength
  • Achievement Recognition

Toastmasters Meeting: 3:00 PM to 4:15 PM
Moments of Truth session: 4:15 PM to 5:00 PM

Please stay after the regular Toastmasters meeting. Your feedback is vital to help improve the club so it can better serve you. Have you ever attended a Vancore meeting and a question, idea, or desire for the club popped into your head but you didn’t know how to share? This is your time!



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