How I try to overcome my fear of public speaking

Yesterday, I gave tips I hope are useful to prepare a technical talk involving demonstrations and live coding. I was then asked how I deal with the stress. That’s even trickier.

I know a lot of developers that are very capable but fail to deliver their knowledge in public. Sometimes because of a lack of public speaking technique, more often because of a massive dose of adrenaline running through their blood. Stress!

Here’s what I do to deal with the stress:

I prepare

Talking in public is difficult. Talking about something you don’t master is a bigger, very stressful, challenge. So I prepare a lot and try to talk about things I use daily.

I talk a lot in public

Shipping software if difficult? Ship more often. Blogging is difficult? Blog more often. Talking in public is difficult? Talk more often. I used to be extremely shy. Until the age of 25, I couldn’t talk in front of an audience without almost collapsing. The solution was to force myself. Fake it until you make it.

I stress anyway

Just before a public talk, I stress. A lot. Not a lot the day before or even an hour before. That used to be the case. Not anymore. It’s the ten minutes just before a talk that are difficult. But what’s the risk. Nobody will die because I’m boring. Nobody will hate me if I say something stupid. I could even teach something or learn something with this talk. At least I’ll try to make the audience laugh!

Have an happy stress!

4 thoughts on “How I try to overcome my fear of public speaking”

  1. A good place to start training is the HumanTalks sessions : 10 minutes in front of an audience is short enough for both you and possibly your audience when you start your training 😉
    You can also go to your favorite technology’s user group, most of them will be happy to give you a tribune either as a short pre-talk or once you are more experienced/confident/fluent a normal 1h talk in front of a smaller audience. Then once you are trained you can go speak in front of large audiences at big conference with confidence.

  2. Try to do some small in your company, will help a lot.
    Also repeat your talk in front of your mirror (use a camera, it will show you a lot of bad habits)

    As you said you need to train a lot before to masterize.

  3. Thank you for your advices it helped me a lot.
    1st practice, practice, practice… repeat ad nauseum
    2nd Talk about what you know.

    I might also add : Don’t be afraid. People are here on their own will

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