Ever Feel Like You Want to Run and Hide? Here’s Help for Nervous Speakers
By Susan Berkley

A subscriber writes:

“I am considering going for an audition with a local radio station. I tried last year, but walked out before my name was called. NERVES!!!!! Now they are holding the audition again. What advice you have to overcome fear? Half of the fear is failure, the other is stammering through what I need to say. This room is, or should be, filled with at least 250 other applicants.”

Susan Berkley:

“I’m sure many people can identify with you here. A large group like this can really stir up speaking stress.

No matter where you are speaking, the INSTANT cure for speaking stress is to align yourself with a value or ideal greater than yourself before your presentation. That means NOT making it about you or about a desire to look good in front of an audience. Focus instead on what you have to give and contribute in any speaking situation.

In this case I would have first researched the radio station I was auditioning for. You need to know who their audience is. Listen to the station. Visit their website. Try to interview the sales manager or the program director.

Without a doubt, the station wants a host who can develop an intimate relationship with the audience so the listeners will return day after day, year after year. In radio, this bond is often formed by storytelling, humor, a feeling of intimacy. Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh are prime examples. I worked with Howard for two years (I was a cast member on his show in the late ’80’s). I know from first-hand experience that Howard knows his audience inside and out. Everything he does is carefully orchestrated to delight, enchant and addict them so they come back to his show day after day, year after year. I was on his show almost 20 years ago and he STILL has listeners who remember me.

Look, only one person can get this job. The decision about who gets hired will be completely out of your control. All you can do is the best you can under the circumstances

When you audition, you might make a mistake. You might even stammer a little. But if you make it all about the audience, you will not fail.

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Susan Berkley is a top voice over artist and founder of The Great Voice Company, a company devoted to teaching great voices around the world how to become successful voice over actors. The Great Voice Company is an international leader in voice over training and in providing top quality voice over recordings in all languages to discerning businesses and marketers. For additional information visit

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