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A Basic Guide to Public Speaking

This guide is intended for anyone interested in improving their public speaking skills. My aim is to simplify a subject that many people find overwhelming. I have condensed what I believe to be the most relevant information into this post.
Public speaking became an important part of my life out of necessity. My first speech class was stressful and overwhelming. I had severe speech anxiety and was frustrated by my inability to express myself with clarity and confidence. 
I set out to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible. I completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in communication studies. I delivered numerous speeches through Toastmasters International. Now, I teach college level public speaking courses as an Adjunct-Instructor.
Throughout this time, I have coached hundreds of students and evaluated thousands of speeches. I remain committed to improving my own speaking skills while also helping others along their journey towards becoming competent communicators.
It should be…
Recent posts

Is Public Speaking Our Number One Fear?

There's a widely held belief that people are more afraid of public speaking than of dying... Shocking, right!?

I'm pretty sure this idea was popularized by Jerry Seinfeld's joke (also stated on his sitcom, a favorite of mine) that goes something like this, “A recent study showed that people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two! This means, to the average person, if you're at a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
I've come across this 'fact' in textbooks, articles, and countless conversations. It sure makes public speaking sound more dramatic and daring. It's funny, it's clever...but it happens to be factually incorrect. Allow me to explain!
This 'fact' is based on a survey from the seventies that asked people to state whether they were afraid of a series of items. More individuals happened to say they were afraid of public speaking than they said they were afraid of death. N…

Notables That Have Also Dealt with Nervousness

“There are two types of speakers: Those who are nervous and those who are liars.”




This is one of my favorite quotes, attributed to none other than Mark Twain. He is known for his great works of literature but also for having given many memorable public lectures. He said it best, but it's worth repeating - Everybody experiences public speaking anxiety to some extent.

You might think you're alone in feeling afraid of public speaking. Well, it might surprise you to learn that some highly influential and well-known individuals have also wrestled with public speaking anxiety. Icons in business, performing, and historical figures alike have dealt with this common fear. Here are just a few examples:
“I was terrified of public speaking when I was in high school and college... I couldn’t do it - I mean I’d throw up and everything.” -Warren Buffett



“I think the audience knew what was happening. It was a play, they bought tickets, I’m up there acting – and I can’t talk.” - James Earl Jones

KPC Radio Interview Discussion on Millennial Stereotypes

I had the great experience of speaking with Arlene Arreola on her radio series, "The Birds and the bees and the bills. We talked about issues facing millennials in the classroom and beyond. You can access this interview here: http://kpcradio.com/alex-howard/

Upcoming Workshop, "Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety"

Don't miss my next seminar, September 5th | 12-1pm at Office Evolution in Westlake Village.

Learn strategies to manage public speaking anxiety! We'll discuss what causes public speaking anxiety and how we can learn to speak with more confidence.

See the event on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/events/981543822025088/







Better Speaking = Better Living

What makes us happy?

We know that the quality of our relationships impacts our well-being to a great extent - perhaps more than any other factor.

And how can we promote more numerous and meaningful relationships?
This is where public speaking comes in, because communication cultivates ourrelationships. We have to interact with other people to create new relationships. And we maintain those connections through continued conversations.

That's why I believe that by enhancing our ability to speak effectively, we can improve our quality of life - personally and professionally.

So commit to improving your public speaking skills! Join a Toastmasters club, take a speech class, or become part of any new group in order to enhance your speaking skills! It just might result in better living.

-A