There is something about public speaking, expressing oneself in groups, presenting or performing that triggers many people’s desire to look perfect. It seems we just can’t give ourselves permission to be imperfect and…. well, human. When we don’t feel safe to be genuinely who we are in front of others, we tense up the body and go into our heads to manufacture an “image” or illusion of perfection. This simple fact is at the root cause of stage fright and fear of public speaking.

Embracing an equally simple fact can release stage fright and even transform the tension and fear into a presence that radiates authenticity. The key is permission to be who we are without having to be perfect. How do we do this? We give ourselves permission to feel our feelings in front of other people.

Stage fright is fear of feeling in front of others. Unconsciously we attempt to show up as perfect by disowning our real feelings, sensations and emotions. We try to make ourselves appear as if we do not have negative emotions like fear and anxiety. To heal stage fright, we simply have to learn to feel what we feel and share our emotions while we are interacting with groups. Presentation coaches who enjoin us to “never say you are nervous” are perpetuating the lack of authenticity that creates stage fright problems in the first place.

One of my spiritual mentors William David said, “We know who we are by how we feel.” Through my own transformational process, I have learned to express more emotions and let go of some of my tendency to want to look perfect. Each time I allowed myself to express more authentically; I grew in self-acceptance, and I felt more like myself. I have literally experienced an increase in physical and spiritual energy flowing through my body each time I shared my self genuinely in public speaking situations and other group settings.

Who are you willing to be when you speak to groups? You truly can’t be anyone else, so why not be yourself? I can guarantee that you will begin to show up as a star when you are willing to share your authentic thoughts, feelings, ideas and expertise. As Marianne Williamson wrote in A Return to Love and Nelson Mandela spoke in his 1994 inaugural address, “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. When we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the dame. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

It is my privilege to help people shine in the world. I do so by guiding them to transform stage fright fear of public speaking into authentic presence so they feel confident to share their ideas, insights and expertise with the world to make a difference. As people are liberated from stage fright and fear of public speaking, they are free to shine in the world!

Author's Bio: 

Sandra Zimmer works with high achievers who are struggling with communication and who may be uncomfortable speaking in groups. She helps them transform the way they express who they are so they feel confident to share their ideas, insights and expertise. Sandra has developed the Zimmer Method for Authentic Communication. Her method guides people through an experiential process that connects them to their natural abilities to express themselves when they speak, present, perform, sell or persuade.

Sandra is the president of Sandra Zimmer & Associates, Inc and the founder of The Self-Expression Center in Houston, Texas. She holds an M.A. in Theater from The University of Houston, a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas and is a Certified Lessac Voice Teacher. Additionally, she has more than 30 years of experience in the field of self-awareness.

Sandra Zimmer can be contacted at The Self-Expression Center,, and 281-293-7070

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