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Around the CWBA: How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking

On September 16, 2020 the CWBA board had the pleasure of hearing from Krista Trofka, public speaking and pitch coach on “How to overcome the fear of public speaking.” Krista is personable, approachable and comes from a place of experience. She struggled with public speaking herself at one point and draws on her understanding of the fear in others to assist them in overcoming their own roadblocks. In her presentation, “The Challenge of Vulnerability” Krista raised an interesting perspective on the fear of public speaking. Krista pointed to science and history as the cause behind the fear experienced by those who fear public speaking.

Krista Trofka of Trofka Communication Arts.

At one time, and still today, man is not at the top of the food chain. There are countless other animals in the wild much more ferocious than humans when we are mano a mano in the wild. The survival of man was a result of the community that we created, power in numbers. So, appropriately, a fear developed for humans of becoming ousted from the community. If you were ousted, you were dead. Therefore, the need for acceptance in the community is deeply rooted in our history. This fear of non-acceptance is at the root of those who have a fear of public speaking. Knowing that this fear is a hindrance for those looking to be vulnerable and get up in front of a group to speak- allows you to address the fear, become comfortable with it and hopefully overcome it.

The first step is to become comfortable with your biological response to this fear. Identify and articulate what your fear is and why you have that fear. Think about what might happen if you follow through with what you fear? The next step is to ensure you provide yourself with self-care and sleep. When your physical and emotional humanity is not well taken care of, we are apt to be more prone to our fear triggers. Finally, set yourself up for feeling confident by giving yourself a power pose. Whether it be singing to Eye of the Tiger or staring yourself down in the mirror- get pumped up as best you can and secure that confidence that lies within you just before facing that fear.

On a personal note, I am a litigator, professor and someone who majored in theatre performance. Since the age of 4 I have been involved in some sort of performance group, be it acting or singing and made a living out of musical theatre post college. While I may not have a fear of public speaking, I still found Krista’s perspective and information profound. It is not often we take the time to reflect on the reasons for our behaviors whether they are influenced from circumstances after birth or are much more deeply rooted in the evolution of humanity. I find the information she shared and reflection she offers to be applicable to many other behaviors, successes or goals in life that are somehow stunted due to fear.

Another great resource that Krista provided us with is the Amy Cuddy Ted Talk that discusses how to manipulate your body language to address your fears and enforce self-confidence.

Thank you to our President Miranda Hawkins for putting on coaching sessions throughout our board service to help us all become better leaders. If you want to reach out to Krista and have her help you overcome a fear of public speaking please visit her website at www.kristatrofka.com.

Jessie Pellant is the founder and managing partner of StudioIP. With over a decade of experience advising clients in transactional and litigious matters, Jessie has earned the role of trusted advisor for her longtime clients.


At StudioIP she focuses on advising clients in acquiring, identifying, developing, protecting or enforcing intellectual property, including trademarks, copyrights and patents. StudioIP specializes in facilitating creative solutions for its clients facing technology transactions, intellectual property ownership or development issues, licensing or disputes. Jessie facilitates technology transactions, performs due diligence, drafts and negotiates intellectual property agreements, licenses, terms of service and privacy policies in several industries including media, software, consumer products, automotive, construction and entertainment.

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