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Dr. Doreen Downing, Essential Speaking, Interviews Me!

I was invited to participate in a showcase on “Public Speaking Anxiety.” It included 19 other industry authorities who share strategies to approach anxiety so you can speak with confidence. 


Dr. Doreen Downing

And it’s wonderful to welcome you today, Fred, to meet you face to face and say, hello, and have this opportunity for you to join my showcase series of ‘Experts on Anxiety and Confidence’.

First of all, I’d like to introduce Fred.

Fred Miller is a speaker, a bestselling author, and an international presentation coach. His books, NO SWEAT Public Speaking!, and NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!, are purchased internationally and have rave reviews on His website, is viewed thousands of times monthly and has over 200 articles, videos, and podcasts. He has been interviewed locally, nationally, and internationally and is a local TEDx Talk coach. His podcast channel is one of the top 25 public speaking podcasts on the web.

Businesses, individuals and organizations hire him because they want to improve their networking, public speaking, and presentation skills. They do that because they know “Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities!” They also know, you know it, and this is true. They also know we perceive really great speakers to be experts and people like to work with experts and they command more money for their products and their services.

He shows them how to develop, practice, and deliver ‘Knock your socks off presentations and elevator speeches’ with – NO SWEAT!

His business background includes being the owner or partner in five successful business to business companies. You can find Fred at

Thank you for being here again. And I’d like to ask you this question and have you reflect on it and share with our community, some of your wisdom. And you know, I’m a psychologist. So my business has always been about anxiety. And it seems like this whole idea about speaking is where a lot of anxiety shows up for people. Yeah, yeah, yeah.


People’s number one fear, number one fear. That’s what a lot of the surveys show.

So my answer to your question, the number way to lessen the fear of public speaking, and to become a better speaker is – Speak! Speak!  – Speak! –  Speak!

The learning is in the doing. You can think about it. You can watch videos. You can read books. You can practice practice, practice, and we can talk about that because it’s very important. But ‘The learning is in the doing.‘ And in the analogy is: If you want to be a great swimmer – swim. If you want to be a great baker – bake. If you want to be a great speaker – speak.

And what’s the worst that could happen? The swimmer comes in last and the bakers cake falls and the speaker makes a full himself. Big deal! It’s a drop in the ocean of your life. So, ‘The learning is in the doing .’

Prior to that, if you allow me, practicing is really, really important. You want to know what you’re talking about and you want to practice and it. Can I tell you a great way to practice, because I think it goes hand in hand with what we’re talking about?

Dr. Doreen Downing

Absolutely. Yeah. Anything you could share?


A great way to practice is to make a video. Video yourself, and you’re probably not going to use the first one you do, but that’s okay. Nobody knows. So video yourself, probably full body, if you can.

The first time you go back to that video, turn the sound off. Just watch because nonverbal communication surpasses verbal communication. The second time, turn that iPad or computer around and just listen. How is your enunciation and pronunciation? How is your cadence? How are your pauses? How is your inflection? Third time, watch the video, sound on. You will see and hear what the audience sees and hears. And the fourth time, have a trusted coach next to you because we all have blind spots. We’re going to miss things that we’re really doing well, and we’re going to be too critical of some things. Then repeat the process.

But the biggest thing is just do it.

You know, the audience is cheering for you. I mean, whenever I speak, I always ask the audience. “Is anybody out there sitting, thinking, man, I can’t wait till Fred screws up. I’ll be on his Facebook page. He’ll never speak in this town again. No, they were so glad you were up there and not them, they could care less. And if you do mess up, they feel for you. So that’s pretty simple. Just do it. “The learning is in the doing.”

Dr. Doreen Downing

One of the things I’m getting from just being with you so far today is the lightness and the humor and just being totally comfortable being yourself.


Well, your confidence in what you do are doing rules. You know, speaking takes us out of our comfort zone. When we get out of our comfort zone, we make it larger. And it is so powerful! That fear of public speaking holds so many people back. It’s really incredible.

And people ask, “Why do we have the fear of public speaking?” Well, the short answer is, “Why not?”

Most of our conversations are one on one. A lot of those are on the phone and you don’t see the person. Younger people, especially these days, Doreen, they’re communicating by email or texts, where they don”t see or hear each other. It just stands to reason when you get up in front of an audience, it’s like, ‘Whoa, I’m out of my comfort zone!” It’s a natural thing to have that fear.

The other thing is that you gotta know what you’re talking about.

I work on this all the time, just like you work on your business all the time. And I’m always learning new things. I’m always learning new things and then practicing. It’s not optional.

You mentioned in my introduction, I coached TEDx speakers. The rule of thumb is: ‘One hour of preparation for every minute of presentation.” And if you make a sports analogy, the amount of time the professional athletes spends on the field, actually playing their sport. It’s minuscule to the amount of time that they spend practicing, working out in classes. You gotta prepare for it. You gotta put the work in, but it’s well worth it. You know my mantra. “Speaking opportunities are Business, Career and Leadership opportunities!” No one ever questions that. Does that makes sense?

Dr. Doreen Downing

I definitely agree about the practice. And you think about musicians and all of that into that, but then their song may be three minutes or, yeah.


Bands that had been together for 30 years will rehearse. The symphony. They’re always rehearsing. Yes. Why would somebody think you can get up in front of an audience and wing it? What you want to do, though, is to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. So when you present, it sounds unrehearsed.

Dr. Doreen Downing

Okay. What about somebody who’s doesn’t have to get up and give a speech, but is it at a meeting and wants to contribute an idea. It’s not rehearsed, but it happens to be something that they are thinking and want to share with the group. Something like more spontaneous. How do you, how do you help people?


I probably want to know the meeting they’re going to and have that question in their mind and maybe even rehearse it. Rehearse it in their mind or rehearse it out loud. You’ll record yourself because it is a “Speaking Opportunity.” Elevator speeches. Are you familiar with the term elevator speech?

Dr. Doreen Downing:

Yes. I think it’s been called elevator pitch.


Well, the pitch I think is a little bit there. I think the pitch is when you pitch a product or a service or maybe you’re going for money. The elevator speech, you’re at a networking event. Somebody says, “Before we get started, let’s go around the room. When it’s your turn, stand up, tell us who you are, what you do. Give us your elevator speech.” Well, that’s a ‘Speaking Opportunity!”. Anytime you speak, to your point, you stand up at a meeting, they’re all “Speaking Opportunities!”

And we expect leaders to be good presenters, speakers, and many are, some aren’t. But it will put you above the crowd. If you can present yourself. Again, just, just do it. What’s the worst going to happen? Nobody ever says, “Well, I remember four years ago when she got up and she made a fool of herself.” Nobody cares.

Dr. Doreen Downing

Yeah. Well, one more about the spontaneity. Let’s say you don’t anticipate and somebody calls on you just like that.


Well, just like you did some me now. Always have something in your hip pocket. Always have something you can talk about so that you can maybe be the Artful Dodger. Say, “I would love to talk about that, but what you made me think about Doreen, when you asked me that question was: You should be audience centered. It’s not about the speaker. Nobody knows me. You want to be audience centered. And the more you concentrate on providing value to your audience, the quality of your presentation will go up and your anxiety down.”

Dr. Doreen Downing

Right? Taking the focus off yourself.


Yeah, focusing on yourself, you’re you’re going to mess up.

Dr. Doreen Downing

Okay. What? I get a lot in my work as a psychologist is people say that they can’t control the way that their body like the heart racing, that neck I’m getting it.


They gotta do it more. You know, first time you go out and run, you’re going to be sore. I mean the learning is in the doing.

In fact, if you want to take it another step, what they say to medical students, specifically surgeons: “See One – Do One – Teach One.” So if you really want to master something, teach it. I’ll use myself as an example. I never had any education courses. My wife was a teacher, but the first time I taught some courses at the community college, or I had a meetup, I was way on my comfort zone. But again, we talked earlier before we started this, when we get out of our comfort zones, we make them larger. So if you really want to master something, teach it.

Dr. Doreen Downing

Okay. That’s a great, great last line. Thank you.


“See One – Do One – Teach One.”

Dr. Doreen Downing

Yeah. Well, I feel like we could have a couple of hours, we could go back and forth. I really appreciate you being here today and it was my privilege. We’ll be in touch and thank you. Thank you so much.


Thank you. Be safe.

Dr. Doreen Downing

Yes, you too. Have a great week. And I do, too.

NOTE: All of Dr. Downing’s interviews for her Anxiety Expert Showcase are HERE.


About the Author Fred E. Miller is a speaker, an international coach, and the author of the books, “NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” and “NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!”

Businesses, Individuals, and Organizations hire him because they want to improve their Networking, Public Speaking, and Presentation Skills.

They do this because they know: Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

They also know: We perceive really great speakers to be Experts. We like to work with Experts.

He shows them how to: Develop, Practice, and Deliver Fantastic Presentations! with – NO SWEAT!


  1. Keynote Speaker

  2. Workshop Facilitator

  3. Breakout Sessions

  4. Personal and Group Public Speaking and Presentation Coaching

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel, Podcast Channel, and connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook.

My books can be purchased on “NO SWEAT Public Speaking” “NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!”

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