Group helps conquers a fear of speaking

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Wendy Benson, of the Portsmouth-based Spinnaker Speakers, explains how the group helps people deal with talking in front of an audience

Do your knees knock when you have to speak in front of a group?

Do your palms feel sweaty, your stomach full of butterflies, and your mind goes blank?

At a Spinnaker Speakers meeting we can help you overcome your nerves and become a more confident speaker.

It is normal to feel nervous before giving any sort of speech, it can even help a little, but too many nerves can mean trouble.

There is a lot that you can do to control your anxiety and make giving a speech easier.

Some top tips that should help most people become better speakers are:

Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in.

Know more about it than you include in your speech - that way you won’t easily run out of things to say.

The more you know the more confident you will be.

Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Imagine the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.

Relax your body by sitting upright in your chair, breathe slowly in, hold your breath for a couple of seconds then breathe slowly out.

Relax your facial muscles by opening your mouth and eyes wide, then closing them tightly.

Practice. Practice! Go through your speech, rehearse out loud with any equipment you plan on using. Practice with a timer.

Practice in front of a mirror. Then practice again.

Every time you go through your speech, you’re adding another layer of: ‘I know this stuff’.

Join Spinnaker Speakers. Come to a meeting and get more top tips.

Spinnaker Speakers is a member of Toastmasters International, a not-for-profit world leader in communication and leadership development.

A club such as Spinnaker Speakers provides a safe and friendly environment where you can practice your speaking and build your confidence, which is the key to effective speaking – whether that is giving a speech at a wedding, a eulogy at a funeral or a presentation at work.

In our ‘can’t fail’ environment members have found their speaking anxieties have decreased.

Spinnaker Speakers meets at Sellers Coffee House (the former Wheelbarrow Pub) on the corner of Kent Road and Castle Road, Southsea, PO5 3EG, on the 2nd and 4th Monday each month.

There is no charge to visit a meeting – we are very friendly and would love to see you.

Spinnaker Speakers is a member of Toastmasters International, a world leader in communication and leadership development. Its global membership is 280,000 strong.

These members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 13,000 clubs that make up its world-wide network of meeting locations. For more information see

or contact Keith Oliver on 077 1335 8148