Are you terrified of Public Speaking?

One of the things in life which gives me the most pleasure is helping people overcome their fear of public speaking.

I know about this subject having suffered myself throughout my professional career from sleepless nights, crushing nerves and mountains of over-preparation to get through even a 5 minute assignment.

It wasn’t the intention when I left my corporate job, but I now earn my living regularly speaking in public to large groups. I learned to not only “feel the fear and do it anyway” through my training as an NLP coach, but to go on to enjoy this part of my work immensely.

Using NLP techniques and a number of others I have gathered over the years, I now work one-to-one and run regular courses for 8-12 to help others put these techniques into practise.

A Case Study

April is a bubbly, articulate, out-going character with a BSc and MSc Distinction in an impressive “ology”.  Her career has taken her from leading expeditions in Africa to being a Principal Consultant with an international group working with governments and companies all over the world.

In a board meeting setting April has no problem setting out her case and negotiating with powerful people, which has won her a reputation as one of the stars in her field.

But throughout her career, April had a secret – a paralysing fear of public speaking, which she managed to conceal by employing strategies such as inventing diary clashes when asked to speak at events, feigning illness and even once bolting from the room.

Last year as she approached her 40th birthday her company asked her to speak at a conference of 300 people and she had no way of ducking the engagement – it was time to act….

As a member of WDF, April came along to one of the “Public Speaking with Confidence” courses run by Johansen Executive Coaching, (aka Public Speaking for the Terrified) and then went on to have 3 one-to-one coaching sessions.

At the course, April together with the other attendees, worked through their initial fight or flight responses, to join in the practical exercises.

In the one-to-one sessions we worked with the original triggering situation from childhood and by using NLP techniques April built a more resourceful response.

This was combined with April working in a small practise group of other participants from the course, to help build her confidence. In May last year, April spoke for 20 minutes at the conference to a room full of industry experts – on leaving the stage one of her colleague told her – “you’re a natural”.

April’s Testimonial

“When I sat down, I realised I’d enjoyed it so much I just wanted to get back up and do it again”

“This has been one of the big enabling experiences of my career, just knowing that public speaking is something I can now do, and enjoy doing, has been a life changer.” 


What we do at the Public Speaking with Confidence Course

The emphasis at these sessions is to quickly build safety within the small group, who are all in the same boat, we then work together to look at all the different ways our flight or fight mechanisms kick in.

One of the biggest fears for many is being seen – standing at the front of the room being the focus of attention – so that’s where we start the practical exercises.

We then move on to short, fun exercises where the attendees find themselves actually speaking in front of the other participants – our motto is – if you can hold a conversation with one person, public speaking is just holding a conversation with a few more.

After just one morning attendees usually go away energised and ready to have a go, in whatever setting is the next right step for them – some just need the course to have enough confidence to set themselves a challenge to speak in groups – others continue working on a one-to-one basis to gather more techniques and develop their strategies.

3 attendees from the Public Speaking Courses went on to speak at WDF meetings.

If you would be interested in one-to-one Public Speaking Coaching and/or attending a Public Speaking Course please register your interest by emailing

This course is also available as an in-house module for companies who wish to support a group of employees.

Comments (2)

Hi Michelle, is this something you could come and do with my team – we often have to talk to large groups of people (I’ve presented at a seminar for 800 people before – is nerve-racking!).
i think several of them would appreciate some new skills and tactics.
Best wishes

Absolutely Jo – I will contact you by email
Many thanks

Comments are closed.