How to: Speak in Public

Coffman Answers Your Burning Questions


Ms. Sheree Coffman in her office, room 1107.

Harley Johnson, Editor-in-Chief

“Dear Ms. Coffman, 

I have to present a big project in front of the class soon and I am really nervous. What are some tips and/or tricks to dealing with public speaking?”



Dear Anonymous,

I don’t think there are many people on the planet that enjoy public speaking. When you have a class assignment that requires you to get up in front of the class, remember that there is no one in the class who is looking forward to it. You are not alone in your resistance. Having said that, speaking publicly is something that can lead to developing confidence and serve you as you go on with a career, so it is something that should not be avoided. Just embrace it and jump into the assignment! Here is a brief explanation of why the brain hates public speaking:

What can you do? First, you should over-prepare. Second, try practicing under pressure. The best way to excel in a stressful situation is to practice in the conditions you’ll be performing under. Finally, before you get up to speak, try a simple mindfulness exercise: Count your breaths and focus on breathing slowly and deeply. Deep breathing helps calm your anxiety and gives you the chance to shine when you hit the stage.

And when all else fails, remember that challenging yourself to do something you’re scared of comes with its own benefits, regardless of how well you “perform.” So many of us don’t pursue things that are scary to us, but it is precisely at those moments that we grow the most (

If you choose to try any of these tips, please let me know how it goes, at [email protected]; I would love to hear from you!