Rethinking Public Speaking Practice

Rethink Public Speaking Practice: Why More Speaking Isn't the Answer To Overcoming Public SpeakingAnxiety


In the speaking situations that give you anxiety, how many times do you think you’ll have to speak so that you can…

 …get over the speaking anxiety,

…speak with ease,

…or be as comfortable as you probably are in 1on1 conversations? 

There’s one approach most of our clients are taking that keeps them stuck with speaking anxiety longer!

This approach is the “Be So Good Approach”.

You see, I also made the same mistake with this approach when I started as a speaker coach…

…I wanted to help my clients be so good as speakers, that they wouldn’t get nervous, they wouldn’t mess up, they wouldn’t blank out, etc.

Boy...was I wrong.

Little back story:

In 2016, my passion for dancing and dance administration died down and then I started to pursue helping others with communication coaching.

I would go to local libraries and co-working spaces to ask if I can use their space for free to host speaking workshops. 

To my surprise, the majority of them said yes!

I would get the space and put the events up for free on Eventbrite and Meetup.

In the beginning, a few people sign up. 


I kept on organizing speaking events and more people would sign up.
I started doing daily workshops, sometimes even twice a day.


I kept seeing people over and over again who wanted to work on their speaking. 

On Eventbrite alone, over 2424 events were held! Jeez. 

I’m showing you all of this because I want to share with you that I’ve seen other people with your similar speaking situations, challenges and goals. 

The theory back then was “Make my clients so good, they won't be nervous or mess up.”

The truth was…I was hoping that they would feel better by the end of our sessions. 

Here’s how I would help people who wanted to speak with greater comfort, ease, and confidence:


1. Go speak more (I would even go to outside events with my clients to watch them speak/give them feedback.)

    1. Go to Toastmasters. Heck, join 3 Toastmasters. Speak up at table topics each time and do a speech.
    2. Join something called BNI - Business Networking International. A weekly business networking meeting where you have to give a 45-second pitch standing up in front of 20-40 peers.
    3. Sign up for a StorySlam - they are like open mics but for storytelling
    4. Don’t want to leave the house, use an app like Clubhouse where you can speak to other people online
    5. Attend my speaking workshops
    6. We used to host a bunch of panel series back then and I would even ask my clients, “do you want to be the panel host to get even more reps in?” ⬇️⬇️⬇️

2. Hone speaking skills

    1. Get into a coaching session with me and get trained on speaking skills,  hand gestures, delivery, structure, message strategies, and more.
    2. Then we’ll practice over and over again for your presentation or meeting.


Did this help people? Well, I wouldn’t be writing this if speaking more and learning more speaking skills were the most effective way to overcome public speaking anxiety.

Clients still came back to me and said, “Kit, ehh it’s still there.”

Think about it, for some of you, how many times have you already spoken in your speaking situations that give you speaking anxiety?

Also for some of you, haven’t you already watched a bunch of YouTube videos or read articles or books about speaking skills?

The chart below shows the most typical methods people have tried to overcome their public speaking anxiety:

And yes, for some of you, this is the start of your journey. I want to speed up time for you by helping you not go down a certain rabbit hole that’s going to keep you stuck longer with speaking anxiety.

Question & Challenge The “Be So Good Approach”

“Be So Good Approach” - This approach focuses on getting so good as a speaker that you won’t get nervous, blank out, stumble, have your voice tremble, or speak so fast, (insert the thing you don’t want to happen here).

The theory behind this is that once you get so good as a speaker with enough repetition and speaking skills you’ll OBLIVIATE your speaking flaws. 

I mean, look at other speakers, colleagues, and leaders out there, they seem so flawless! They speak with such confidence and the way they speak…it’s so smooth, it’s like butter.

Do you think like that?

The biggest flaw in this approach is that you think once you get so good as a speaker, these “bad speaking things” won’t happen to you anymore. 


Let’s use Michael Jordan as an example.

With Michael’s skills and experience, will he get nervous before going into his big basketball game? - Yes, that’s because there’s something at stake for him.

Will Michael miss shots? - Yes, that’s because he’s not a robot.

Will Michael Jordan trip and fall running down the court? - Yes, it happens.

“But Kit, you’re missing the point, you dimwit! I want to prevent these bad speaking things from happening to me! Michael Jordan can reduce his chances of missing a basketball shot, I want to do the same thing with reducing my chances of getting nervous, blanking out, voice trembling, sounding incoherent, etc! This is why I need to speak more and get more speaking repetitions.”


Consider some of these things:

How many attempts does it take for you to speak so you won’t blank out anymore?

Ask this same question in the context of a conversation - Have you ever been in a conversation with a friend or family member and you can’t remember what you wanted to talk about? 


How many attempts does it take for you to speak in a conversation until you don’t forget what you’re saying mid-sentence?

You know it just happens! And you’re not even nervous in that conversation when you’re talking to a family member.


How many attempts does it take for you not to be nervous anymore?

You can’t remove the human emotion of nerves. If the event means something to you or it’s of higher importance, then you’ll get nervous.

No one will get rid of nerves for you, it’s like asking to get rid of hunger. 

Try this on as well - How many times do you have to run until you don’t sweat anymore? 


How many speaking attempts does it take for you not to make any speaking mistakes?

Speaking mistakes will happen. And I know you know this but when it happens to you, you still beat yourself up over and over again!

Mistake with the “Be So Good Approach” - You’re not working toward your attitude of the “mess up”. 

You’re aiming to prevent flaws.

You’re aiming to prevent human nature. 

The paradox is that the aim to prevent causes more anxiety. 

It’s mindset before skillset. 


How do I work on my attitude towards my speaking situations?


Here’s an in-depth training that shows you more of how to do it.

Working on your attitude towards speaking involves shifting your mindset from focusing solely on skill and performance perfection to expecting, embracing, and learning from the inherent unpredictability and human elements of public speaking.


1. Acknowledge & Accept the Reality of Public Speaking 

Understand that speaking, like any form of human expression, is subject to variability and imperfection. Even the most seasoned speakers face nerves, make mistakes, and have off days. Accept that nervousness and mistakes do not reflect your value or competence as a speaker.


2. Reframe Your Approach to Mistakes 

Shift your goal from trying to eliminate mistakes to how you can use those mistakes to make your speaking better. There is no resilience if the bad thing didn’t happen at first. People want to see how you pick yourself back up and how you move on.  The way you handle slip-ups can enhance your speaking effectiveness and audience connection. It’s part of the game.


3. Embrace Vulnerability 

Vulnerability can be a strength. Showing your human side can make you more relatable and engaging as a speaker. Share your thoughts and feelings openly when appropriate. It can help reduce the perceived distance between you and your audience.

By working on your attitude towards speaking in these ways, you can develop a more balanced, effective approach that values growth, connection, and authenticity over perfection. 

This shift can not only improve your speaking skills but also reduce your anxiety and make speaking a more enjoyable and fulfilling experience.


To Your Speaking Success,

-Kit Pang

Founder, BostonSpeaks


Here’s how we can help:

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  4. Coaching: Schedule a call with Paulette to learn how our expert coaches, Gina and Kent, can elevate your speaking through personalized support and guidance.

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