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Speak without Fear: A Total System for Becoming a Natural, Confident Communicator

Speak without Fear: A Total System for Becoming a Natural, Confident Communicator

by Ivy Naistadt

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For many of us, public speaking is at best a chore marked by great anxiety and at worst a potential career stopper. Ours is a time when the ability to communicate in front of individuals or groups in all types of business and other situations is becoming paramount. Speak Without Fear offers a unique, practical process for combating the stage fright that


For many of us, public speaking is at best a chore marked by great anxiety and at worst a potential career stopper. Ours is a time when the ability to communicate in front of individuals or groups in all types of business and other situations is becoming paramount. Speak Without Fear offers a unique, practical process for combating the stage fright that plagues us every day in these situations.

Unlike other books on public speaking, Speak Without Fear goes beyond the external techniques, such as how to breathe properly and keep eye contact, to delve deeply into the reason for your performance anxiety. It gets to the root of what's giving you the sweats so you can identify what's in the way and work through it to communicate naturally and comfortably before audiences of any size.

Ivy Naistadt's easy-to-follow, step-by-step program will help you:

  • Identify the degree and type of your nervousness
  • Pinpoint the incidents and issues that, directly or indirectly, cause you fear and loathing in the spotlight
  • Develop and master a technique for over-coming your anxiety that's adaptable to your level of experience and need
  • Use your new skills to shine in a variety of situations — whether speech making, interviewing, auditioning, or presenting

No matter how anxious you are about going before an audience — any audience, whether it's 1 or 1,000 — Speak Without Fear will give you the tools to speak powerfully and persuasively.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These books point to authenticity as the key to public-speaking success. The politically motivated Phillips, a presentations skills coach, and Ferguson (A Passion for Politics) stress that for women, presentation skills equal power. Women, they note, face a double bind: along with the usual anxieties about public speaking, they have to manage the unease of assuming the traditionally "masculine" role of public speaker. Later sections of the book focus on how to retain feminine authenticity, cultivate delivery skills, and bring aspects of one's personal life into the public-speaking arena. Practical tips and skills are presented, but readers must wend through repeated pro-woman arguments to find them. Naistadt's work is much more a public-speaking primer, though it adds value by providing excellent advice for overcoming common fears and obstacles. A former actress and public-speaking coach, she notes that companies of all kinds expect employees to dazzle audiences during presentations. While all readers have at least some practical presentation skills, many also have emotional hindrances that hold them back. Naistadt's program specifically addresses these folks, particularly those burdened with stage fright, and aids them in developing a style of communicating that is natural and authentic. Obstacles vary from the easily remedied (e.g., poor grammar or nervousness) to major inhibitions like fear of criticism, humiliation, or failure. Methods like how to stand, breathe, make eye contact, gesticulate, and properly vocalize are discussed, as are rehearsals and structuring messages for maximum impact. Speak is a fine guide, recommended for all public libraries; Women Seen is a good bet for business and women's studies collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Speak Without Fear

A Total System for Becoming a Natural, Confident Communicator
By Naistadt, Ivy


ISBN: 0060524480

An Approach Less Taken

Down the Up Staircase

If anyone had told me when I was growing up that I'd make my living helping people overcome their fear of public speaking to become more powerful, persuasive communicators, I would have said, "You're crazy!"

But in a way, I suppose the path my life has taken was inevitable.

You see, I'm a good example of what I preach.

Picture if you will a little girl, ten years old, about four feet tall (she'd never get much taller), lugging a three-quarter-size cello that's bigger than she is into the living room of her upscale two-story suburban home. It's practice time, which goes down like vinegar. Her mother, who happens to be a professional violinist, insists (as many well-intentioned parents do) all of her children learn to play a musical instrument. However, in this case, the cello just isn't this kid's thing. Singing, dancing, and acting are. Heading out the door that afternoon, the mother gives the usual instructions: "Practice, or no playtime!" And with those words, she's gone.

As soon as the little girl hears her mother's car pull out of the driveway, she shoves the cello aside, springs from the chair, dashes to a closet, flings it open, and retrieves a long-handle broom.

Tucking the broom under her arm, she makes her way up the staircase that leads to the second-floor bedrooms and positions herself at the top of the landing. She is alone in the quiet house.

The orchestra in her mind begins to play, the music swells, and she gracefully begins descending the staircase with her partner, the broom, in imagined top hat and tails. Belting out the lyrics of a show tune at the top of her lungs, she has the time of her life, lost in the joy of singing.

That night, she and her mother are watching a variety show on television. The little girl, still taken with her performance that day, is enchanted by the lead vocalist of the featured singing group, whom she imagines herself to be. Her mother gets up and suddenly switches off the TV. Disappointed, the little girl asks why, and her mother replies, "Because singers look stupid with their mouths open. That's why!"

My mother, who set an extraordinary professional example, which has served me well throughout the years, couldn't have known I would eventually pursue an acting and singing career. However inadvertently, her words did have an impact on me. And while it wasn't a total showstopper, her comment simmered inside my brain, and I allowed it to linger and affect me professionally for years.

The interesting thing is, as a child, I never thought about singing from this visual perspective. I just enjoyed doing it. And yet, this seemingly benign comment, reinterpreted and internalized by me, became a critical message I would send to myself later on -- creating inhibitions. As you will find out, these interpretations have tentacles that, if the messages remain unexamined, can creep into other areas of our lives.

Butterflies Are Free

The two biggest deterrents to speaking without fear are nervousness and inhibitions. They are not the same thing.

Most everyone experiences a certain amount of nervousness at the prospect of speaking to a group, pitching a new customer, or asking for a raise. Usually, these butterflies are mild and just flutter away. But those that take wing to become a crippling form of anxiety that stops us in our tracks I call stage fright.

This is the condition I found myself experiencing when I moved to New York City in the early 1970s to embark upon a career as an actor and singer. To learn my craft and prepare for auditions, I studied with the best acting and voice teachers in the business. They reassured me that I had talent and a fine singing voice, and was developing the technical skills to go with them.

Auditioning is difficult at best. But for me, it was an especially painful experience because of my own self-doubts and self-consciousness. You are truly being judged, the competition is fierce, and if you don't get the job, you very often have no idea why. This just adds to your insecurity. Rejection is part of the game. This is why, in addition to talent and hard work, the way you feel about yourself and the work you do is essential to your being able to keep pressing on until you achieve success.

For me, this was a constant struggle. I was continually replaying an old tape in my head -- one that said that since singers look stupid with their mouths open, I must look stupid singing, too. What I've since learned is: messages sent to us in the past by significant people in our lives, whether unintentional or intentional, can leave lasting impressions ... creating inhibitions that affect how we deal with the present. Through sheer persistence and some very good luck -- both of them a must in show business -- I gradually became more secure in my craft and began landing jobs off-Broadway and small parts in films and daytime soaps. But my anxiety issues persisted, even increased.

I was almost used to the fact that auditions brought on the sweats, but now they even accompanied the jobs I landed.

I recall performing a nightclub act at a premier New York City club called the Ballroom, an opportunity that offered the kind of exposure that could open a lot of doors for me.

It was opening night. There I was in my dark little dressing room a flight of stairs down from the stage, getting ready to go on, when suddenly ...

I started feeling physically paralyzed. When my call came, I was unable to move from my chair. I sat there frozen, incapable of moving up the stairs ... Continues...

Excerpted from Speak Without Fear by Naistadt, Ivy Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Ivy Naistadt has been helping business professionals and others communicate more effectively through seminars and one-on-one consultations for 15 years. Her diverse client list includes senior management from such leading corporations as The New York Times, IBM, Kodak, Hershey, and Pitney Bowes as well as universities and private schools throughout the Northeast. A member of the National Speaker’s Association and American Society for Training and Development, she lives in New York.

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