The Fear Of Public Speaking

Today is a day I won’t soon forgetFranklin Graham, son of the legendary Billy Graham and President/CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, was speaking in my hometown at the First Baptist Church of Woodstock.  However, 7.7 miles due south on the same road, yours truly Brian Dodd was simultaneously speaking for approximately 5 minutes during both morning services at Fellowship Bible Church

I was asked to give a short testimonial on what God was doing at our church through a children’s initiative called Celebrate Summer.  This invitation came as a result of a blog post I wrote called How To Impact Students: 10 Lessons From Summer Camp.  To read that article, click here.

I’ll be completely transparent, I was extremely nervous before each service.  Thankfully, my friends did a great job calming me down and God came through.  Both testimonials got great response as my message was fortunately delivered with passion and clarity.

Here are some facts about the fear of public speaking from

  1. The fear of public speaking (Glossophobia) is the number fear people have beating the fear of death, fear of spiders, fear of darkness, and fear of heights respectively.
  2. Fear of public speaking has negative effects on careers and influences success in life negatively when you do nothing about it.
  3. Three out of every four individuals suffer from speech anxiety.
  4. Women and men are equally affected.
  5. Many public speakers have turned to beta-blockers to find relief.

As leaders, we have to conquer this fear that affects so many.  Leaders must be able to cast a compelling vision, rally the troops, and instill confidence in people.  The following is what got me through today.

  1. I was summoned.  This is a biblical principle from the life of Joseph.  While he was in prison, the Pharoah summoned him to interpret a dream This interpretation resulted in Joseph becoming the #2 leader in the country of Egypt.  When you are asked for, you know that with that comes the understanding you have been prepared for that task.  This should give you great security and confidence.  Leader, did you ask or manipulate your way into a speaking role or were you summoned?
  2. Be prepared.  Know your material.
  3. Discipline.  Stay on script.
  4. Get feedback from people you trust.  Our worship leader Tim Beard and my wife gave me outstanding coaching advice prior to my speech.
  5. Keep It Short.  Deliver no more than three points.

Leaders, we have to do a lot of public speaking.  I hope these tips help get you through the next time you speak to an audience.  Give us your thoughts on how you handle your speaking assignments.

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

3 Responses to “The Fear Of Public Speaking”

  1. Hi Brian – you’re absolutely right that church leaders have to be able to speak (in fact we do quite a bit of training of clergy and people who support clergy). At the same time, it’s important to remember that the message is more important than the medium! 🙂

    If all else fails, I remind the people I train, remember ours is a forgiving God, and won’t damn you just ‘cos you gave a bad presentation! 🙂


  2. drikaRI I suffer from fear of public speaking and @BrianKDodd presents some great tips for dealing with this: #Glossophobia

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