Skip to Main Content

University of Tennessee
Managing Your Fear of Public Speaking

Sources of Your Anxiety: External

Belief that the audience is judging you and waiting for you to fail

  • Not true – the audience wants you to do well and can benefit from your presentation.

Being self-conscious

  • For many, the fear of the “spotlight” is crippling. With time and practice, you will feel more comfortable in front of an audience. Until you can find confidence in yourself, find strength in the quality of your message and how it will positively impact the lives of your audience members.

Concern that audience will not care/enjoy topic

  • Simple – perform an audience analysis so you know as much as possible about your audience and how to tailor your message to fit their needs/interests.

Concern for accuracy/staying on topic

  • Easy – be organized and prepared. A good outline or notecards will help keep you on track and will enable you to precisely cite facts and sources.

Concern about delivery – eye contact, rate, volume, etc.

  • Practice repeatedly. Watch and learn from the speeches of others.


  • Have faith that preparation, practice and effort will be rewarded.