Are you scared of public speaking??

You are not alone! Glossophobia, otherwise known as speech anxiety is quite common!

Here are some great tips to overcome those sweaty palms

In my 25 years as an MC and front man of a band, I have encountered many people with a “fear” of public speaking. Whether it be the CEO of a large company giving a keynote address at a conference, or the father of the bride on his daughters wedding day, it can happen to the best of them!

This blog will offer tips, advice and homework for anyone who is facing a date with that dreaded microphone in the not too distant future.

The fear of public speaking continues to be right at the top of the world’s most common phobias, usually causing as much angst as a fear of heights or a fear of snakes/spiders etc.

Having once been very nervous at public speaking, let me try and help with a few tips and advice I have discovered myself.

1). Know your subject matter!

Before you attempt to write your speech make sure you do the research. In other words, know the subject matter you are speaking about!!. It doesn’t matter if your speech is about your company’s strategic direction, or a wedding toast on how your daughter met her partner, the advice is the same – KNOW YOUR SUBJECT!

If you are tasked to speak on a subject matter you are not overly familiar with, then start researching! Even on familiar topics, ask yourself if there is more you can know and look into that as well. Doing the hard yards, in terms of research and preparation, helps lead to building your own confidence.

Writing a flow chart of what you want to say, helps to make it clear in your own head. If you are using power-point or visual slides etc., make sure you know their order and familiarize yourself with either the hardware device (laptop etc.) or the “clicker” to move to the next slide.

Once you have a plan on what you want to say, and have organised any presentation collateral you’d like to use, try rehearsing your speech in front of a family member. Dogs can also be good listeners, without the judgement!

Even news-readers on TV and radio, read over their prepared scripts many times until they know their content backwards. It’s all about the preparation! 

2.) Get ready for the Physiology of the speech or presentation.

The physiological effects of delivering a speech so often get overlooked at the outset, but it is critical to effective speech delivery.

Prepare yourself for all of those feelings of fear, anxiety and the hyper-arousal of your nervous system. Believe it or not, it’s just plain human and something that even the most experienced public speaker will go through. I still do after 25 years at it!! The more experienced presenters just know how to deal with these feelings. The fear and anxiety of what is to come will “arouse” your nervous system, into a feeling of fight or flight, thus leading to an emotional fear that if left unchecked, can lead to an inability to perform at your best.

My tip is simple. Accept all of these feelings!!! Understand what they are and the role they serve and  ‘own them’.  It’s perfectly normal to feel this way and the quicker you are able to reconcile it the better. Having said that, always ask yourself if the nervousness has a rational basis. Your subconscious in some cases may be alerting that something has been missed. Think clearly through it.

To be honest, if you are on top of your subject matter, and you have practiced , you just need to own what you are doing and saying. At the point of speech delivery, know you can do no more and just go for gold. Shut the fear out……concentrate on the dialogue!

Remember the nervous feelings are okay. They are normal. Confront, accept, move on.


3). Seek ways to get better at speaking in public.

 Sometimes our whole thought process is about delivering just one presentation or speech. But how about thinking of developing these skills right now for the rest of your life! Confronting the fear with lots of public speaking opportunities can quickly build skills and resilience to help develop confidence very quickly. In other words, if you never dive in the deep end you’ll never fully learn to swim.

Something so simple as reading or delivering the speech to a partner or close friend can make all the difference. Do it three times and I bet by the third time of presenting in front of someone you trust, you are three times as good as the first time you did it!

Try joining a Toastmasters group, speak at small family gatherings, speak to small groups of work colleagues. The more you speak, the more you learn and the better equipped you will become.

There is a great deal to be learned from actors in this respect. They rehearse their scenes constantly so think of yourself as a speech actor. I know it will probably sound “corny” to you, but practice in front of a mirror also. This ways you will get to see what your audience are seeing. Ask yourself, are you standing tall and confident? Are you making enough quick eye contact with your audience to visually engage with them? Are you fidgeting? Are you speaking with passion and belief? Your own reflection in that mirror will give you those answers very quickly.

And whatever problem you see in that mirror, fix it the next time you run through the speech. Don’t be so self-conscious that you only do the speech twice in front of a mirror… it ten times when no one is around. Trust me, you’ll “blitz” it the more times you do it.

4). Try to get to know some of your audience beforehand.

If you are about to walk into a room full of strangers, try to get there early and make the effort to mingle or talk with some of your audience before hand. It’s not always possible to do this, but if you meet and chat with some of the audience they won’t all be strangers will they!

If you have managed to develop a rapport with anyone before your presentation you can scan the audience during your speech to make a visual connection with them. A friendly set of eyes can really make a difference if you’re feeling all alone. If you have a friend or work colleague that you get on well with that will be in the audience, seek them out visually a few times during your speech so you can find a friendly, comforting and supportive face. Nothing will calm your nerves better than a smiling audience member!


5). Some helpful hacks!

Okay, so finally here are a list of hacks that can really help beat your nerves, settle your mind and physical jitters as you step up to the microphone. Try some of these before and during your presentation.

  • Breathe deeply!! When anxious, human beings tend to shallow breathe. This is not good for public speaking so remember to breathe properly. Concentrate and take deep, slow breathes in and out for 1 minute. You’ll be amazed at how much better you will feel after this.
  • Shake and stretch your arms and legs and stretch your neck and jaw. The anxiety you are feeling can result, just before your speech, into a tightening of muscles right throughout your body. Beat that by “limbering” up like an athlete would before a race. Another great trick is to place your tongue on the roof of your mouth a few times. It will actually help with pronunciation issues caused by nervousness!
  • Smile and try to laugh about something before hand! The mere act of smiling can activate some of the “feel good transmitters” in your brain. Use them.
  • Use pauses during your speech. Sometimes because we are anxious and just want it to be all over with, we rush through our delivery. Take some time to pause, let the audience catch their breathe and more importantly, can give you a few seconds to re-group yourself and move on to the next part of your speech. Pausing will help you settle and allow you time to recompose yourself. The more relaxed and comfortable you are, the more relaxed and comfortable your audience is also.
  • Make sure that you try and add a story to your speech or presentation. For centuries, people have been inspired by Bards and Poets (story-tellers). Two really easy ways to engage your audience with story telling is (1) Tell the audience something about you and (2) tell your audience something that may inspire them.

Hopefully this blog will see you conquer your nerves to deliver a successful speech or presentation and help with any future public speaking engagements.



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You and your band were fantastic and much loved by the attendees.
Definitely a fair few sore heads the next morning!
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After 2 years of postponements and patience from Tony we eventually held our Conference last week. Tony was a professional and a pleasure to work with from the beginning and the energy his band brought to our Gala Dinner and Awards night was a highlight. The dance floor was full all night - Tony really knows how to engage an audience. The singing, laughing & dancing continued most of the night and all our delegates walked away talking about an amazing night.
Massive thank you Tony, you and the band played a huge part in making the night so memorable for us all. Hope we have the opportunity to work together again.

Tony and his band did such a fantastic job on the day playing live solo acoustic at our ceremony and live band entertainment at our reception. Tony also provided seamless MC services throughout the reception (we received many compliments from wedding guests as well). He has an excellent ability for reading the room and made sure the night went off without a hitch. Tony was by far was one of our favourite wedding vendors to communicate with. From the first phone conversation we knew we were in good hands. Highly recommend to anyone looking for music services for an upcoming wedding, event or special occasion.

We are so glad we booked Tony and the band for a special birthday celebration. I am grateful for his clear communication in the process and again on the night as his cool, calm and collected manner eased me enough to enjoy the party with our guests. The music quiz was a lot of fun and finishing the night with the best set of songs, like the band had been in our car listening to our playlist. Talented musicians, great sound, very professional, I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone and would book them again in a heartbeat.

Tony and his band performed at our Conference dinner in Cairns last week. Right from the beginning Tony was a pleasure to deal with - a true professional, with nothing we requested being too much trouble. On the night, Tony and the band were amazing! Their choice of songs was spot on, and they had everyone on the dance floor within a few songs. They created such a great atmosphere for our event - I would highly recommend!

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As a professional Events Manager, I engage Tony George Entertainment for many different events and I can always rely him to never let me down. My go to entertainers as they can perform for an intimate dinner or get the dance floor jumping at a Gala for 500pax. I most recently engaged Tony for our Skal Christmas function and boy did we sing, dance and have a whale of a time!

I booked Tony & the band for our Christmas party held in Cairns, being from Brisbane I picked him based solely on reviews...and we were not disappointed! The four piece played great music - making it very hard for us not to get up and dance by the end of the night! (stupid Covid rule). We would definitely book them again - no matter where we held a party.

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Tony George makes event organisers look good! We have hired Tony to perform at a number of corporate events across the last couple of years as he is easily one of the best entertainers in north Queensland. Each time he literally makes the event a better event. He is professional, thoughtful, innovative, helpful and an excellent musician. His set choices suit all audiences, his MC'ing skills are terrific and his performances always get the dancefloor pumping! Thank you Tony, you're a pleasure to work with!

Tony was super easy to work with, fast communication, and very accommodating to our ideas. We employed him both to MC and solo acoustic performance for our wedding reception. As an MC he made all the guests feel comfortable and his charisma and energy had us and the guests partying all night. His song catalogue was vast, catering for all guests requests from Elvis Presley to Tenacious D. Four days before our wedding COVID restrictions changed forcing a change of venue music set up. Tony took this in his stride and even helped set up lighting in our new venue, creating a perfect atmosphere.

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Sarah Bennett - Fresenius Kabi Australia & New Zealand

"Cannot thank Tony enough. He went above and beyond. He helped me learn a song to sing for my wife as a personalised surprise. He gave up his time to practice with me prior to the wedding. He also helped my wife with a surprise dance."

Tony George came highly recommended to us by the restaurant we had our wedding at, Nunu in Palm Cove, Cairns. (After that, the recommendations kept coming via word of mouth!) So we booked Tony and his band and couldn't have been happier. Tony was open to all of our crazy ideas for our wedding and showed heaps of enthusiasm and encouragement - he was up for ANYTHING! We had a sing-a-long during dinner, a special song dedication to my sister and her husband, and lots of cool music throughout the night. Our wedding guests raved about Tony and the band for days following our wedding. Couldn't recommend him more highly!! Thanks Tony for an awesome night and for accommodating our every request!

What an amazing performer! Tony and his band were absolutely amazing, everything from the choice and variety of songs, set-up, sound quality and professionalism. These guys rocked the crowd and made the night unforgettable! If you are looking for live music that is second to none, you've found your band!

Tony was perfect! He provided exactly what we needed in the way of music and MCing, and created an incredible atmosphere with plenty of crowd participation. Tony was even able to cater to our special requests. We would recommend him for other weddings in a heart beat!!

"Tony, you are honestly the most entertaining performer we have ever come across. You were lovely as soon as we met and so helpful with every single aspect of our wedding. Not only does he have the most amazing set of pipes on him, this man can seriously keep a crowd up and moving all night! I think everyone's highlight was to see you throw down Eminem and the tin whistle was a surprisingly nice addition, haha. You honestly made our night a memorable one and we cannot thank you enough for everything you did for us!

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"I am not sure where to start.....Tony, thank you. You were amazing. Completely read the crowd and had the dance floor full all night for our conference Gala Dinner. I cannot recommend Tony and his band enough."

We engaged the amazing Tony George and his band once again for a corporate event on Hamilton Island. It was an absolute pleasure working with Tony as he was the consummate professional from start to end. The stress of wondering or guessing how the evening or crowd will respond is completely removed. No matter the demographic, everyone instantly gravitates to the dance floor before the 2nd song kicks in. Crowd participation and a seemingly endless music repertoire equates to an evening that is guaranteed to be a success!
The only complaint on the night…… it ended all too soon!
Sincere thanks again Tony!

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