Joel Schwartzberg Shares Insights on Becoming an Effective Public Speaker

Ed Newman
7 min readFeb 4, 2019

Champion public speaker, trainer and author helps speakers get to the point.

Over the past seven months I’ve been impressed by the caliber of writers I’ve encountered on Medium, the blogging platform developed by Ev Williams who originally co-founded Blogger and Twitter.

Near the end of January I discovered Joel Schwartzberg, an executive communications professional, public speaking coach, author, and former national champion public speaker. When I was young, public speaking was one of those things that pretty much terrified me, so I reached out and asked if Joel might share some of his insights here.

This interview is packed with useful information that can help you grow in confidence and effectiveness as a public speaker.

Photo courtesy Joel Schwartzberg

EN: What is it that makes people so deathly afraid of public speaking?

Joel Schwartzberg: I believe public speaking fear is more related to a fear of general embarrassment and public shame than to the mechanics of public speaking. People might be similarly fearful of singing or doing magic tricks. So, overcoming that fear requires feeling confident that you can effectively convey your point and that it will be successfully received (or that you will sing on key or won’t saw someone in half.)

In my workshops, I counsel speakers to focus on three primary tactics to overcome public speaking anxiety (sometimes called Glossophobia):

— Practice out loud (not just mumbled or in your head)

— Think “I’m excited” instead of “I’m nervous.” Studies show the two are related feelings and substituting “I’m excited” for “I’m nervous” — in your head as well as out loud — redirects that ball of nervous energy to boost your confidence and motivation to succeed.

— Know your job is to present your point, not yourself. When speakers realize their top job is to convey a point — which is external to them — the task seems less intimidating because it has little to do with who they are and how they appear. Though they may not realize it…

Ed Newman

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon