While 75% of all people experience some degree of nervous anxiety when delivering a speech, many are able to get past their nervousness and present their message with some degree of clarity and proficiency.  They may not be able to completely eliminate the internal nervous anxiety, but they are able to control most evidences of nervousness.  When they do, they fall into one of 3 categories….Competent speakers, Confident speakers, or Compelling speakers.


Most of us fit within the Competent Speaker category.  By way of our sociable personalities, our professions, or perhaps organizations we belong to, we have the capability to get in front of an audience and deliver our messages effectively.  We have the courage to show up and speak up.   Some of us are a little more nervous than others when we’re in the spotlight delivering a speech, but we do it anyway.  Competent speakers are able to capture the audience’s attention and deliver the intended message effectively.


Those who fall into the confident speaker category are much more relaxed and tend to be more entertaining when giving a presentation.  They’re able to deliver their message with complete comfort and ease.  They might feel some degree of nervousness, but their nervousness translates into excitement for them.  They not only enjoy the spotlight, they relish in it.  They’ve got their nervous anxiety completely under control to the point where they may feel it but their audience detects no signs of it. They come across poised, calm, and in control.


Yet some fall into the category of compelling speakers.  They’ve mastered the art of public speaking.  With enthusiasm, eloquence, and expertise, they’re able to consistently engage,  influence, and fire up their audience at a peak level each and every time.  The authenticity of their message is the most striking element to the success of their speech delivery.  The passion in which they deliver their message is contagious…the audience not only hears the message and remembers the message, they feel the message, and are inspired to take action based on the substance of the message.


Whether you’re a competent speaker, a confident speaker, or a compelling speaker, there is no right or wrong level of public speaking to pursue.  It’s situational.  But there is a distinct behavioral difference among the three levels of public speakers:

  • Competent speakers focus on their speech techniques. The intent is to inform their audience.
  • Confident speakers focus on their message. The intent is to engage their audience.
  • Compelling speakers focus on their audience. The intent is to inspire their audience to action.


There is no magic bullet to achieve success at any level of public speaking.  It’s a simple three-part formula:  repetition, repetition, repetition.  The more you do it, the easier it becomes, and the more natural it becomes.  It’s an evolving, organic process.  With repeated practice, the competent speaker can transform into the confident speaker.  And the confident speaker can transform into the compelling speaker.  Those who are comfortable sharing personal stories or revealing their vulnerabilities are more likely to attain a compelling quality to their speeches.  It’s an organic process.  What matters most is showing up and speaking up, again and again and again.  So, despite any initial fears you may feel, just have the courage to show up, speak up, and shine.