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The Fear of Public Speaking! – The What Ifs?

Updated: Jan 18

Fear of Public Speaking

The What Ifs: The Fear of Public Speaking holds many people back, personally and professionally.

My last Post discussed the Whys? of the Fear of Public Speaking.

The other big reason we have that Fear is because of the What Ifs?

What If?

  1. What If The audience doesn’t like me?

  2. What If I was talking too quickly?

  3. What If I was talking too slowly?

  4. What If I forgot something?

  5. What If their last speaker was outstanding and compared to them, I suck!

The Biggest What If is:

What If I’ve got nothing to say that anyone would ever have an interest in hearing?

Lots of people have that What If?

They shouldn’t!  Each and every one of us have life experiences and knowledge others would benefit from having presented to them.  Often, we can’t see that in ourselves.

That point was driven home to me when a friend emailed a question.  I can’t remember the question, but I knew the answer. I was at my computer and typed it in the Reply Section and hit the Send Button.  A few minutes passed and I received a one word response to my answer – WOW!

I stared at it for a few moments, thinking, “What’s WOW?”  I then returned the email with those two words, “What’s WOW?”

I returned to the work I was doing.  About ten minutes later I received his answer.  It had a profound effect on me, and I want you to understand and embrace it, also.  It read:

“Sometimes, you are so close to your own knowledge base, that is so wide and so deep – You don’t know what you know!”

Think about that phrase, “You don’t know what you know!”  

Each of us has experiences and knowledge others can benefit from.  We’re often just too close to it to see it!

The fact is: “Your everyday can be someone else’s Payday.” “Your everyday can be someone’s Ah Hah! Moment.”

Because we often Don’t know what we know, it sometimes takes another person, asking probing questions, to bring out that information.

If you don’t think you have anything to talk about, find someone who will ask those questions, and probe deep into your:

  1. Life experiences

  2. Family background

  3. Education

  4. Work history

  5. Hobbies

  6. Travel experiences

  7. Health issues

  8. Obstacles you’ve overcome

  9. Etc.

When you answer those questions, they should be probing deeper with followup questions like,

  1. Tell me more.

  2. So what?

  3. And then what?

  4. And that lead to. . .?

  5. What else?

  6. Why did you mention that?

  7. Why is that important?

  8. What did that mean to you?

  9. What effect did that have on you and others?

  10. What did you learn?

All of us have LOTS to say!  No more excuses for “not having anything to talk about.”

Example: I was coaching a lady on an upcoming presentation and we were working on her Introduction.  

She handed it to me to look over.  In my view, there was nothing that answered the criteria for an Introduction on it, and I told her so.  I asked her, “Didn’t you tell me you once worked as a TV Producer for one of the major networks?”

She replied, “Yes, but that’s not a big deal.”

“It is in my world!” I replied.  “And,” I continued, “who are some of your clients?”

She answered. "With a half dozen of the largest companies in town."

“That information should be in your Introduction,” I told her.  “That kind of stuff is real credibility.  Put it in there, please!”

She was too close to what she knew and didn’t “know what she knew.”  (We corrected that and she wound up with a great Introduction.)

Are you too close to what you know?  Get someone to “ask the questions” that dig that experience and knowledge out of you!  No more What Ifs!

Get to work on that speech – Today!


Pausing is a key component of presenting.

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, andPresentation 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

  1. Crafting Your Elevator Speech, Floor by Floor with – NO SWEAT!

  2. We are All Self-Employed!

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