Dealing with Public Speaking Anxiety or Fear?   

You might be totally shocked when you read this…

Public Speaking Fear – Can a Dog Help You Overcome Your Speaking Anxiety?

Before you say Yes or No, here is something you need to know first.  

One of my dogs, Sunny, is a trained therapy dog. We adopted him from Nala’s New Life Rescue in Palm City Florida.  He is such a calm, gentle, easy going guy that he was a perfect and natural match for Humane Society of the Treasure Coast Therapy dog program. This is where I first learned how beneficial Sunny was going to be when when it came to practicing my upcoming presentations.    

AmondaRose Igoe with her dog

Here is what I Discovered:

One of the most popular HSTC therapy dog volunteer programs is Paws to Read. In this program, children had the opportunity to read to the therapy dogs.  The kids loved it and the dogs did too!

The reason it was so successful is that kids reported that they didn’t feel judged by the dogs if they messed up.  They could read for the enjoyment of it and not worry what the dogs were thinking. Therefore they were able to build their reading confidence and their overall self esteem improved. As a result, Paws to Read was a huge hit with parents and their kids.  

What if you could practice in front of a dog and overcome your Public Speaking Fear… 

Instead of reading to your dog like the kids did in HSTC Paws to Read, imagine how you would feel if you were to actually present your speech in front of your beloved furry friend that adored you.  

How would you feel?  Would you feel more relaxed and confident when presenting during your practice sessions?  Would practicing in front of a dog help

Through the process of practicing your speech in front of a dog, you will

  • Have the freedom to practice in a non-judgemental atmosphere
  • Become more confident with the  with the material and your public speaking anxiety will decrease
  • Naturally do things that help decrease your public speaking fear such as taking full breaths
  • Practice public speaking skills that are naturally effective in all presentations such as making eye contact, reading less and smiling more. 
  • Realize what you do when you practice your talks, it shows up in the real life presentations too. 

It is super fascinating to me as a Public Speaking Coach and Presentation Trainer that such a simple technique could be so profound.  If it worked for kids to build their confidence and help them feel more relaxed, it could certainly work for adults.   And it works so much better than imagining your audience naked. 

If you aren’t sure if presenting to your dog can help you overcome your public speaking fear:

Check out this awesome video on public speaking anxiety and presenting to dogs on the NY Times website.  

The video focuses on American University’s Kogod School of Business where students fine tune and improve their public speaking skills in front of loving and nonjudgmental “audience” consisting of only dogs.  

Click here to watch the NY Times Public Speaking Video

You will find the cat perspective interesting too!  It might find that it wouldn’t work as well with some cats.  

Wanting more help and public speaking tips to overcome your speaking anxiety and presentation fear?   

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