Intive Blog

Public speaking techniques: How to overcome a fear bigger than the fear to death

75% of people suffer from fear of speaking in front of an audience, and people in FDV are no exception to this. Consequently, in the frame of our talks and in a laid back environment, our COO, Leandro “Pela” Larroulet, gave us a small “inception” on public speaking.

He started off by talking about something we knew nothing about. “Stage fright” which tops fear of flying, spiders and even death. It sounds over the top but most people live through it this way. We paralyze because of the vertigo coming from having to give a presentation, or simply taking part in a meeting. So, with a view to helping everybody, we share what we took from that talk.

Techniques to minimize fear and shame

To cut down fear to the minimum expression, it is necessary to keep an eye on 2 key stages for a presentation. That is preparation and development. Let us see each:

1) Preparation

It is vital at this practice stage to try to not be alone. We can ask someone for feedback, perform in front of the mirror, or even record ourselves to check it out later. The following are some of the questions we suggest you asking yourselves for the presentation to be a success.

  • What is the objective of the meeting?
  • What tone of voice and what type of verbal and body communication should I use?
  • What situation is the audience in regarding my message?
    Ignorance on the subject or misinformed (1st)
    Knowledgeable about the topic (2nd)
    Acquainted with the key point (3rd)
    Believes in and accepts my viewpoint (4th)
    Ready to act upon the base of their beliefs (5th)


Outfit plays a vital role in what we want to communicate. The result will not be the same depending of the colors and outfit of choice. Thus, it is important to bear in mind the following questions.

  • Where am I going? What for?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • What impression do I want to make?

According to the previous answers we can define the color we will wear. Each color has an unconscious meaning associated which is listed below:

Black: Formality, sobriety, authority (western world)
Red: Energy and physical strength. Aggression and danger
Pink: Mildness, femininity.
Green: Calm and relax
Yellow: Optimism
Blue: Clarity, mental control
Turquoise: Sensitivity, creativity.
Brown: Stability
Grey: It normally triggers negative feelings (time, evasion)

1.2 The content

Time is a key factor when it comes to organizing the content. The ideal distribution of a presentation should be as follows:

  • Introduction, 10-15%. We will use it to catch the audience’s attention and to set them ready for what is coming next. Some opening ideas are: dramatic statement, personal anecdote, famous quotes, analogy, “such person has just told me…”, jokes, making a question.
  • Development, 70-80%. We should bear in mind that our central ideas should be 3 and have them very well connected.
  • End, 10-15%. A successful closure will include: summarize the keys points, call attention, promote the request, promise or commitment.

2) The development

The day will arrive, but if we have the talk well prepared, we will have overcome a big part of the ordeal. Of course we will still fell fear, shame or inhibition from the amount of eyes on us. But the good news is that that fear will only last two minutes at the beginning of the talk and, generally, it will not come up again unless unexpected questions are made. Yet we can counterbalance these with the following advice.

  • Utilize relaxation techniques
  • Have a positive attitude
  • Perform previous preparation and practice
  • Arrive to the place in advance
  • Commit to research the answers to the questions from the audience we do not know.
  • Build answers along with the audience

If you still feel insecure (and this actually happens to many of us), Leandro told us about the Monroe method. The Monroe’s Motivated Sequence is a methodology based on concepts from persuasion psychology and social psychology.

What is the Monroe sequence like?

The method consists in 5 steps:

1.Attention. To catch the audience’s attention, through resources such a personal story, a surprising statistic, or a bit of humor.
2.Necessity. To show what the problem or the objective is using data to support it, and if possible connected to the audience.
3.Satisfaction. To present the answer to the problem, by explaining how to meet the need through a plan of action and addressing the unknowns about the ways to reach a solution.
4.Visualization. Resort to emotions and wishes, trying to make the audience shape an idea on how this could be a better world where a need is fulfilled and compare it to the current world.
5.Action. To obtain people’s commitment. To call for involvement which is achievable, simple and in the short-term. (48 hours maximum).

“People always remember best what they listen to at the beginning and at the end”, was a key insight which “El Pela” shared with us during his talk. Consequently, we want to make a further comment in this respect, to finish this article: Beyond all these tips and techniques, the environment always has an influence on the speaker. Not always does everything depend on us, but of course friendly environments with a horizontal spirit, where there are no hierarchies or evaluators, always help. Hence, in our offices we encourage all team members to try, to go for the opportunity of making a mistake in a laid back environment, where we always learn from mistakes and something positive is always acquired. At least, this is what we believe in FDV.


By the blog’s editor

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